Military masculinities in the making: professional military education in contemporary Turkey
Az, Elif İrem (2014) Military masculinities in the making: professional military education in contemporary Turkey. [Thesis]
Military schools have historically been the black boxes of the Turkish Armed Forces. The subjects who make up the military and their education in military schools have largely remained outside of academic inquiry. Since the establishment of the Republic, the military has been consolidating its power over political processes, the legal system and everyday life through various coups and interventions. Yet, we witness a historical shift in political, social and cultural positionality of the military since the Ergenekon and Balyoz [Sledgehammer] trials, beginning in 2007 and 2010 respectively. Based upon participant observation, modest historical research, and in-depth interviews with former cadets of Turkish Naval High School and Turkish Naval Academy who were students between the years 2003 and 2013, this study aims to trace the links between my research participants’ narratives and the military’s falling from grace. This thesis argues that this shift ranges from internal restructuring of power in professional military education to changes in ideological, ethnic, and class composition of the military. It is argued that this allegedly homogeneous entity is made up of diverse bodies, subjects and ideologies that are dynamically being restructured in this process. Trying to transcend the artificial distinction between the institutional representation of the military and the agents who compose it, this thesis, draws attention to the importance of academic research on the professional military, not only through the decision-making processes of a high ranking minority of military officers but also through the heterogeneous subjectivities and layers of complication within the institution.
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