The Ethnography of a Turkish Wedding: Symbolic Interaction, Ritualistic Ceremonies and Secularism

By Michael W. Smith.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is said that the character of a nation is determined and reflected in its culture. In 1923, Turkey declared itself a Republic and thus began a social revolution planned and advocated by its leader, Mustufa Kemal Ataturk, that would transform Turkey into the only secular, democratic nation in the Middle East. In 1926, Ataturk initiated a new code of Turkish civil law that made
civil marriages the only means to marry, thereby making religious marriages illegal. Ataturk also secularized the educational system and woman
were no longer required to wear veils and clothing to cover their entire body. In 1930 women were given the right to vote in municipal elections and nationwide in1934 (France did not allow woman the right to vote until 1944)Yet, despite this long secular, civil and democratic history, when it comes to marriage, Turkish traditions still play a central role. As a participant-observer at a Turkish wedding in southeastern Turkey, this ethnographic study describes and analyzes the ritualistic ceremonies and the social and symbolic interactions of this secular marriage.

Keywords: Turkey, Turkish Wedding, Symbolic Interaction, Secularism, Marriage, Ritualistic Ceremonies

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp.85-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.185MB).

Dr. Michael W. Smith

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Saint Anselm College, Malden, MA, USA

Dr. Michael W. Smith is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. For the past 10 years there. he has taught courses in Intro to Sociology, Race & Ethnic Relations, Law & Society, Criminology, Terrorism, and the Sociology of Genocide. Upon the completion of his Ph.D., he previously taught for 9 years in the overseas undergraduate and graduate programs for the University of Maryland and Boston University, living in England, Italy, Spain, Turkey, West Germany. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has practiced immigration, civil rights and criminal defense law. He is co-authoring a book on Wrongful Convictions.


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