10. The Multiple Faces of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: Authority, Iconography, and Subjectivity in Modern Turkey
Dietrich Jung [+]
University of Southern Denmark
This article asks the questions of how we can understand the authoritative role and iconographic presence of Atatürk in modern Turkish life and state formation? The chapter argues that in the formation of the modern Turkish republic we can observe historical processes of the transformation of charismatic authority into the political legitimacy structures of a modern state. From a Weberian perspective the legitimacy of Atatürk’s early rule rested predominantly on his personal qualities as a “national hero” and military leader. In order to transform Atatürk’s charismatic authority into a lasting order of rule, however, it had to be routinized through traditional and/or legal means. This routinization of charismatic authority took place by the mediation of broad variety of material artifacts incarnating elements of Ataturk’s charismatic personality. The chapter claims that in modern Turkish state formation Atatürk’s charismatic authority has gradually been transformed into the abstract authority of corporate actors and related state institutions. At the same time, Atatürk has assumed a key role in the modern subjectivation of the Turkish people as citizens of the republican state. In these interdependent processes of modern state and subjectivity formation, the iconographic manifestation of Atatürk’s symbolic power in Turkish everyday life has played and still plays an essential part. In the visualized omnipresence of Atatürk we can see the materialized expression of both the rationalized authority of modern Turkish state institutions and the central point of reference for the self-hermeneutics of the Kemalist modern Turkish subject. In Michel Foucault’s terms, we can observe a complex dispositive of discourses, social practices, institutions and artifacts that together make the authority structure of the Turkish republic. The iconographic presence of Atatürk is the material dimension of an authority structure, which reminds us of Bentham’s panopticon and thereby of the crucial development of the execution of state power from means of domination to technologies of the self.