New Book: The Alevis in Turkey and Europe. Identity and Managing Territorial Diversity

30 09 2012

By Elise Massicard

Hardback, august 2012


This book examines the development of identity politics amongst the Alevis in Europe and Turkey, which simultaneously provided the movement access to different resources and challenged its unity of action.

While some argue that Aleviness is a religious phenomenon, and others claim it is a cultural or a political trend, this book analyzes the various strategies of claim-making and reconstructions of Aleviness as well as responses to the movement by various Turkish and German actors. Drawing on intensive fieldwork, Elise Massicard suggests that because of activists’ many different definitions of Aleviness, the movement is in this sense an “identity movement without an identity.”

Table of contents

Introduction 1. Complex historical trajectories Part 1: A polymorphous and divided movement 2. The emergence of the Alevist movement 3. A conflictual and fragmented movement 4. Conflicts over meaning 5. The role played by third parties Part 2: Difficulties in entrenching the movement in Turkey 6. The emergence and limits of identity politics in Turkey 7. Insurmountable difficulties in integrating the religious field 8. Difficulties in establishing a firm political footing 9. Culture as an outlet 10. How modes of action have evolved over time Part 3: The localisation of identity 11. Local identity factors 12. Alevism in Europe: shaping the movement from abroad Conclusion

Elise Massicard is Director of OVIPOT and scientific resident at the Institut Francais des Etudes Anatoliennes in Istanbul.