726.2 A paradoxical reconciliation: The headscarf issue as a search for social justice and democratization

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 12:45 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Ayse SAKTANBER , Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
The number of  women who prefer to cover their heads in the public sphere has dramatically increased in the last two decades in Turkey while also both the meaning and the style of  wearing  a  headscarf  have  significantly multiplied. It is no longer  just  a matter of piety, nor doest it constitute a  strong challenge to the secular regime, but it continues to be a matter of   democratization, social justice and Islamic accommodation. This paper examines how and why wearing  a headscarf continues to be a fault-line between the ideals of democratization and  the republican project of modernization. The former promised the entailment of the individual freedom of expression, whereas the latter gave priority to the secularization of the public sphere before anything else.  Considering explicit and implicit reflections  of  the headscarf controversy on women's social position in the society, it focuses on the questions of women's agency, representation and civil rights in the face of  the emergence of diverse women's identities sharing similar demands for  freedom of  expression but having different  understandings of women's rights and equality.