Kurdish Studies

ISSN: 2051-4883 | e-ISSN: 2051-4891

Constructing Kurdishness in Turkey: Passive exposure as a boundary marker

Ceren Şengül
Centre Maurice Halbwachs (Ecole Normale Supérieure)
Keywords: Kurdish, belonging, language, family environments, sound.


This article discusses the under-researched sonic aspect of belonging to Kurdishness in Turkey: listening to or hearing the language, so-called passive exposure, without necessarily speaking it. Drawing on ethnographic, in-depth interviews and participant observation across five different field sites in Turkey, this article illustrates that in Turkey, where the public space for Kurdish soundscape is limited, passive exposure to the Kurdish language within family environments acts as major means of transmission of belonging. This discussion contributes to the literature on boundary-making by illustrating that the absence of passive exposure hinders some of the means of boundary-making such as self-ascription.

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