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European Regional Master's Degree in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe
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Stigmatized Melodies: Comparative Analysis of Turkish and Greek Policies Regarding “National Music”

by: Avi Mizrahi
pp: 95
ISBN: 978-88-96951-19-4

In collaboration with:
MIREES Alumni International Association (MAiA)


Modern idea of nationalism narrates us similar stories with different actors in diverse geographies. Even though each case has its own particularities and it is really hard to generalize any social reality, such narratives mainly point out the power relations between certain groups, institutions and nations. This time, the story of nationalism recites us a harsh chapter from Turkey and Greece. As there is an adequate research on comparing and contrasting the nationalist movements in Turkey and in Greece, it is effectual to focus on a more particular case which aims to discover the commonalities and contrasts between these two neighboring states: national musical policies. Adopting historical analysis as the methodological technique, this research is developed on the question of “How Turkish and Greek scholars and law makers constructed cultural continuity and applied such a thesis on musical policies, in defense of their national identities between 1923 and 1945?”
First chapter of the thesis gives us structural information regarding our exploration such as the research questions, working hypothesis and methodology. Following this a theoretical discussion regarding modernity, state and culture as well as a historical discussion noting the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and its demographic outcomes are marked. In the second chapter, ideological grounds of the Turkish national identity is focused with specifically analyzing ideologue Ziya Gökalp's conceptualization of culture (hars) and civilization (medeniyet), and the characteristics of the Turkish Theory Culture are explained. In the third chapter of the thesis, diverse approaches in reading the Modern Greek history are noted, while a specific attention is given to the cultural continuity thesis of the “Hellenochristian Civilization Thesis” coined by Spyridon Zambelios and Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos. In the fourth chapter of this work, in light of the theoretical discussion noting the modernization approach, we will be focusing on the intellectual approaches regarding folklore and national music. Following such discussions, we will be observing the practical outcomes of such “modernizing policies”, such as censorship on radio stigmatizing Ottoman art music as well as promotions of ethnomusicological research, glorifying the rearrangement of the folkloric tunes in Turkey. In the fifth chapter, we will be identifying the Greek case, reading the intellectual discussions on folklore and music as well as the practical outcomes of a specific period of the Modern Greek history, with the creation of a censorship committee and regulations of the cultural institutions. Particularly, 4th of August Regime of Ioannis Metaxas, promoting the “3rd Hellenic Civilization” of the cultural continuity thesis mentioned in the second chapter, will be highlighted. Finally, in the sixth chapter, conclusions will be pointed out, with a comparative approach, showing us the ideological and practical similarities and contrasts in these two countries.


Table of contents

1. Introduction
1.1.Research Questions and the Working Hypothesis
1.1.1. Research Questions
1.1.2. Working Hypothesis
1.3. Theoretical Background
1.3.1. Sociological Approach: Cultural Products and Music
1.3.2. Modernization and the Nation-State Modernization Characteristics of the Nationalist Narrative
1.3.3. Bride & Groom: State and Culture Louis Althusser and the “Ideological and Repressive State Apparatus”
1.4. Historical Background
1.4.1. Aegean Burning History: The Great Fires of Salonica and Izmir, 1917-1922
1.4.2. Aftermath: Seeking a Reconciliation at the Lausanne Conference
1.4.3. A Demographic Knot: 1923 Exchange of Populations
2. Ideological Grounds of the Turkish National Identity
2.1. Discussions on National Identity
2.1.1. Ideology of Turkism
2.1.2. Ziya Gökalp and the Turkish Theory of Culture
2.2. Solving the Musical Question: Synthesis
3. Highlighting the Historical Pillars of the Modern Greek Identity
3.1. Appropriate Language, History and Culture: Hellenist and Romeic Approaches
3.1.1. Hellenist Approach: Resurrection of an Ancient Civilization
3.1.2. Romeic Thesis
3.2. Fallmerayer “Breaking the History” and the Hellenochristian Civilization
3.2.1. Reading the “Historical Break”: Jakop Philipp Fallmerayer
3.2.2. Conceptualizing the Hellenochristian Civilization An Ideology Looking Backwards and Forward A Social Engineering Project: Political Pedagogy
4. Interpretation of the National Folk and Its Music in Turkish Republic: Intellectual Discussions and Cultural Policies (1923-1945)
4.1. Understanding Nation, Culture and Civilization in “Universal Sense”
4.2. Ideology and Scientific Research on Folklore
4.2.1. Problematizing the Turkish Classical Music
4.3. Intellectual Discussions on Folklore and Music in Early Turkish Republican Period
4.3.1. Mahmut Ragıp Gazimihal (1888-1961) Gazimihal’s Proximity with an Essentialist Historical Theory: Historical Continuity Thesis and the Sun Language Theory
4.3.2. Hüseyin Saadettin Arel (1880-1955)
4.3.3. Rauf Yekta Bey (1871-1935)
4.4. Practical Outcomes
4.4.1. Practical Outcomes: Institutions National Research Institutions for a National Culture
4.4.2. Practical Outcomes: International Connections, Ethnomusicological Research in Southeastern Anatolia, Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
4.4.3. Practical Outcomes: Confrontations and Restrictions on Musical, Educational Practices and Abolishing the “Inappropriate” Tunes A Point of Confrontation: Greek Orthodox Singer(s) of the Ottoman Music in Early Turkish Republic
5. Implementing the “Appropiate” Music for the “People” in Greece: Intellectual Discussions and Cultural Policies (1923-1945)
5.1. General Focus: Conceptualizing Folk and Art in Greece
5.1.1. Cultural Discussions on Written Media: Techni, Dionysis and Athinai
5.1.2. Re-framing Nation as A Cultural Resource Georgios Lambelet (1875-1945): Precious Resources of Art and People Manolis Kalomiris (1883-1962): People’s National Language
5.2. Particular Focus: Rebetika Music and Metaxas Regime Musical Policies
5.2.1. Introducing Rebetika and Its Cultural Significance
5.2.2. Particular Discussions on Rebetika in Greece: A Humanizing Approach
5.2.3. Structuring the Appropiate Music during Metaxas Dictatorship Understanding the Regulative Mindset of the 4th of August Regime Structuring the Appropiate Music during Metaxas Dictatorship
6. Conclusions
Appendix A
Author’s Biography


The initiative of:
University of Bologna, Vytautas Magnus at Kaunas, Corvinus of Budapest and St. Petersburg State University, together with University of Ljubljana and University of Zagreb

In collaboration with:
MIREES Alumni International Association (MAiA)
Institute for Central-Eastern and Balkan Europe (IECOB)

Selection coordinated by:
MIREES Faculty Academic Council

Editorial coordination by:
Prof. Francesco Privitera, MIREES Programme Director
Adriano Remiddi, President of the MAiA Executive Board
Giovanni Cadioli, MAiA Editorial Manager
Luciana Moretti, IECOB Editorial Assistant


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