Spaces of Protest in Turkish Popular Music
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Turkey stands on the periphery of the dominating centre of Europe, straddling the East and West politically, culturally, and geographically. Oppositional Turkish voices come from the periphery of Turkey itself, challenging the government’s political Islamist centre. ‘Özgün’ (authentic protest) music is one such voice of protest. With its roots in Anatolian musical traditions, it also borrows liberally from Western musical styles, instrumentation and even harmonies raising fears of cultural imperialism where the West is seen to dominate the rest. This chapter argues that it is useful to think of this borrowing in terms of relocating semiotic resources from both the West and Turkish culture to construct spaces of resistance. Other than musical traditions, representations of place and people in places in music videos are also relocated into a semiotic package of subversion (meaning to undermine principles and corrupt). These representations are powerful, affecting our understanding of places, reinforcing myths, and providing listeners with a sense of identity (Forman 2002). In song, analysis of settings are ‘highly revealing about the world being communicated’ (Machin 2010: 92), and ‘can be used to understand broader social relations and trends, including identity, ethnicity, attachment to place, cultural economies, social activism, and politics’ (Johansson and Bell 2009: 2).
KeywordsMusic Video Popular Music Cultural Imperialism Western Music Folk Song
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