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Projecting the nation: European states in the 1920s and 1930s/ Ulusu tasarlamak: 1920'ler ve 1930'larda Avrupa devletleri. [Exhibition catalogue].



At a time when the boundaries of Europe and the future of European modernity are contested once again in the face of Turkey's candidacy to the European Union, the publication Projecting the Nation offers a critical reflection on the recent past of Europe. Focusing on the multiple and competing modernities of the 1920s and 1930s, a period which also saw the dawn of Turkish modernity, the exhibition explores how nations were invented and shaped by state power. In the age of mass politics, visual political culture - itself a product of modern technology - took on a fundamental role in creating and molding mass consensus. For European states, in this era of competing ideologies and exacerbated nationalism, self-exhibition was no longer restricted to a message of authority and legitimacy targeting the cultural elite. It now became a crucial and novel element of statecraft, a cultural offensive grounded in propaganda, and a source of self-legitimation for political power. In all circumstances, the ultimate stake was control over mass culture. Highlighting strong instances of self-exhibition in the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Kemalist Turkey, interwar France and conflict-torn Spain, Projecting the Nation presents a cross-territorial examination of the similarities, differences and borrowings of forms of modernity unbound.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the Republic in 1923 under the rule of Atatürk and his Republican People's Party, Turkey embarked on extensive social, economic, cultural and administrative modernization programs which would lay the foundations for modern day Turkey. The Power of the People shows that the ordinary people shaped the social and political change of Turkey as much as Atatürk's strong spurt of modernization. Adopting a broader conception of politics, focusing on daily interactions between the state and society and using untapped archival sources, Murat Metinsoy reveals how rural and urban people coped with the state policies, local oppression, exploitation, and adverse conditions wrought by the Great Depression through diverse everyday survival and resistance strategies. Showing how the people's daily practices and beliefs survived and outweighed the modernizing elite's projects, this book gives new insights into the social and historical origins of Turkey's backslide to conservative and Islamist politics, demonstrating that the making of modern Turkey was an outcome of intersection between the modernization and the people's responses to it.
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