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12 - Neither Fez Nor Hat

Contesting Hat Reform

from Part III - The Power of Popular Culture

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2021

Murat Metinsoy
Affiliation:
Istanbul Üniversitesi
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Summary

The Hat Law is one of the hallmarks of the early republic. The nationalist-modernist new rulers attempted to fashion the Muslim population into a modern and secular nation by changing symbolic and cultural codes like clothing styles. Symbols such as headgear had conveyed important meaning since the Ottoman Empire by signaling the wearers’ religious, social and economic status. Aware of the power of clothing and particularly of headgear, the government intervened by eliminating this traditional and religious symbol with the Hat Law. The fez was discarded and the turban was limited to preachers. However, these changes generated a series of protests. Many Islamic scholars and preachers rejected the new hat. These are well-known aspects of the people’s negative response to the hat reform. In contrast to the existing literature, which focuses on well-known anti-hat protests and the religious reasons that spurred them, this chapter examines how people dealt with the hat reform by avoidance, covert disobedience or selective adaptation methods. This chapter also reveals the complex causes of the people’s hesitance to adopt Western hats instead of rendering the issue a conflict between tradition and modernity. It reveals the role of symbols like dress codes in social resistance, power rivalries and class struggles as well as in state-making.

Type
Chapter
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The Power of the People
Everyday Resistance and Dissent in the Making of Modern Turkey, 1923-38
, pp. 234 - 243
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Neither Fez Nor Hat
  • Murat Metinsoy, Istanbul Üniversitesi
  • Book: The Power of the People
  • Online publication: 24 December 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009025775.015
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  • Neither Fez Nor Hat
  • Murat Metinsoy, Istanbul Üniversitesi
  • Book: The Power of the People
  • Online publication: 24 December 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009025775.015
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Neither Fez Nor Hat
  • Murat Metinsoy, Istanbul Üniversitesi
  • Book: The Power of the People
  • Online publication: 24 December 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009025775.015
Available formats
×