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AKP`s Municipal Politics - a Reinvention of Tradition?

Charlotte Joppien
Universität Hamburg
Charlotte Joppien
Universität Hamburg
Open Panel

Abstract

In my paper which is related to my PhD thesis I examine the municipal politics of the AKP showing the connections between party, society and economy. My research follows two main hypotheses: (1) Context has a strong influence on the behaviour of actors. In addition, the success of AKP is grounded in the ability to adapt itself to the local context and to develop a political language corresponding to it. (2) The party’s success is attributed to a successful “(Re) Invention of Traditions”, that means the recreation of village traditions in a new, urban context. Starting from Bourdieus Habitus concept I use theories of context research to examine the influence of context criteria on the behaviour of the actors (party/ actors within the party or in its periphery). I am interested in the ways of interaction and political language the party chooses vis à vis the population. Does it “translate” or “adapt” its political message to local norms? How does it work together with other social actors like party related organisations, business associations or religious and ethnic groups or use existing networks for a promulgation of its political message? Do female networks play a decisive role in interacting with society? I follow Özbuduns categories of political participation to characterise forms and motivations of participation, name personal and social aims and to what extent context influences political action /“reduces” or “simplifies” political decisions? I am convinced that my approach that focuses on the “micro-level” of AKP`s politics, its use of traditional structures and the role context plays in this process will add valuable input into the workshop that will most probably focus on national politics.