Habermas on the Incomplete Project of Modernity: Turkish Language Reform and Islamic Political Identity
Habermas’ claims regarding the unity of communicative rationality are applied to identity politics in contemporary Turkey. The topic focuses on problems said to surround the Turkish language reforms, which sought to purge the Ottoman language of the metaphorically and religiously charged vocabulary borrowed from Arabic and Persian. The neologisms left many secularist Turks feeling their expressive terms were lacking. However, the traditional Muslim population felt excluded from the new language. Even under strict state control of the educational system and cultural institutions, the reforms made to the Turkish state did not result in a unified culture. Habermas’ accounts of aesthetic disruptions to lifeworld communicative rationality, specifically that of the surrealist ‘revolt’ is contrasted to the case of modern Turkey, assessing the role of Islamic identity politics as a ‘negation of culture’ or an opposition force seeking to complete the project of modernity.
Keywords: Habermas, Turkish Language Reform, Negation of Culture, Islamic Political Identity, Aesthetic Discourse
Dr. Stephen Snyder
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Fatih University