The Myth of the Military-Nation: Militarism, Gender, and Education in Turkey


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“”The Myth of the Military Nation” is exemplary of the politically engaged scholarship that has acquired momentum with a new generation of Turkish scholars committed to exposing national myths to overcome past and present injustices in Turkish society. Altinay ably combines ethnography with rich and historically informed scholarship to demonstrate the historical production of the idea of a “military-nation as a foundational myth of Turkish nationalism, and offers a critique of the institutional and ideological sources of its hegemony that is all the more effective for its heart-felt but subdued tone. What she has to say goes beyond Turkey in its significance at a moment of pervasive militarization of politics in the United States, and globally.”–Arif Dirlik, University of Oregon
“Listening to the startling words and disturbing silences of individual men and women, Ayse Gul Altinay gives us a stunning insight into the intimate and enduring bond between education and military service in Turkey. “The Myth of the Military-Nation” is a precious gift to those many of us who want to understand the cultural processes through which manhood and national belonging come to be inseparable from soldiering – and the courage and cost involved in reaching for an unmilitarized way of being.”–Cynthia Cockburn, City University London, author of “The Space Between Us: Negotiating Gender and National Identities in Conflict, and The Line: Women, Partition and the Gender Order in Cyprus ”
“With all the news about Turkish politics due to the Cyprus, Iraq and EU debates, now is exactly the time for all of us to read this smart feminist investigation of the Turkish political interplay between masculinity, men, statist nationalism and soldiering. Altinay is one of the most insightful political anthropologists I know. ”
–Cynthia Enloe, author of “Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives.”
“The well documented research, clear conceptualization and illuminating analysis that characterizes “The Myth of the Military Nation” gives urgently needed voice to ‘the contradictions and the silences’ that uphold male-dominated, militarized nation states. Gul Altinay has dared to demonstrate a crucial truth that applies not only to Turkey but to virtually all states, as well as, to human groups aspiring to statehood; the conflation of national identity and military capacity is the greatest of the many obstacles to human security. This is a work which contributes essential substance to modern history, peace and security studies, gender studies and to the theory and practice of education. It should be read by every educator concerned by the disservice to critical learning done by the militarization of education.”–Betty A. Reardon, Peace Education Center, Teachers College

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