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Living and Performing Journalism in Turkey: Community, Affect, and Hegemony
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This dissertation is an ethnographic exploration of how journalism is defined and performed within the daily lives of journalists in Istanbul, Turkey. Based on nine months of embedded ethnographic fieldwork, extensive interviews, and participant observation, my research presents narratives that underscore the relationship between Turkey’s sociopolitical and cultural environment and the expression, performance, and experience of journalism for people engaged in Turkey’s media field. Although some academic research has focused on the dynamics of the political economy of news media within Turkey, little has been done to explore how journalists personally engage in their profession on a daily basis as it relates to their life worlds. Geo-political and cultural shifts in regional and world politics, such as a mass refugee crisis, a rise in right-wing authoritarianism, and the neoliberalization of Turkey’s economy, have had a significant influence on the daily lives and experiences of all those living within the country. As journalists report on these events and how Turkey’s political climate affects people from all across the country, they are also contending with their position and role within Turkey’s socio-political milieu. I situate Turkey as an authoritarian neoliberal state, whereby a free market economy justifies and bolsters state interventions within the spheres of daily life. In presenting how these factors shape a given political context, I turn to theories of affect to underscore the relationship between daily, lived, and embodied experience and the presence of such institutions as the state and its economic policies. Accordingly, my dissertation accounts for how journalism might be conceptualized as embodied detachment, whereby journalists attempt to grapple with their desires to cultivate a professional practice rooted in impartiality and objectivity, while also contending with how their habits, tastes, relationships, and identities are saturated by the history and politics of Turkey on a sensorial, affective level. In exploring the inter-connection between journalism, daily life, and broader phenomena, such as nationalism and authoritarian neoliberalism, my dissertation presents three themes to highlight how journalists in Turkey negotiate the tension between their subjective life experiences and professional goals. My dissertation examines how space, community, and identity are realms through which journalists negotiate their professional ideals, while grappling with personal life circumstances that challenge their visions of journalism.
Miles, Caitlin Marie (2019). Living and Performing Journalism in Turkey: Community, Affect, and Hegemony. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from