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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: January 2010

4 - Cultural framing


Having examined Kurdish nationalist challenges to the Turkish state from an “opportunity structures” as well as a “resource mobilization” perspective, we now consider the same issue from the perspective of social psychology and culture. As was the case in the previous two chapters, an attempt will be made to limit the bulk of our explanatory focus to this last theoretical perspective. Such a perspective should prove most useful for understanding “why” Kurdish ethnic nationalist dissent arose in Turkey, as well as the values, aims, and objectives of Kurds in the country. At the same time, important revelations concerning how Kurdish nationalist resurgence occurred and the prospects of this phenomenon should be made.

Many variants of cultural and social-psychological approaches could be applied to the Turkish-Kurdish case, and the intangible, amorphous nature of identity and culture makes the task doubly difficult. For the purpose of delimiting our task as well as furthering current research trends on social movements, the approach taken here applies the perspective adopted in McAdam, McCarthy, and Zald's Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements. “Framing” is defined along the same lines originally espoused by David Snow, as “conscious strategic efforts by groups of people to fashion shared understandings of the world and of themselves that legitimate and motivate collective action.” The analysis of cultural framing is therefore broken down into the following components:

the cultural tool kits available to would-be insurgents;

the strategic framing efforts of movement groups;

the frame contests between the movement and other collective actors – principally the state, and countermovement groups;


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