By Tord Olsson

Within the emerging momentum for brand new and reformulated cultural identities, the Turkish Alevi have additionally emerged at the scene, difficult due popularity. during this procedure a few dramatic occasions have served as very important milestones: the clashes among Sunni and Alevi in Kahramanmaras in 1979 and Corum in 1980, the incendiarism in Sivas in 1992, and the riots in Istanbul (Gaziosmanpasa) in 1995. much less evocative, yet ultimately extra major, has been the emerging curiosity in Alevi folklore and spiritual practices. Questions have additionally arisen as to what this department of Islamic heterodoxy represents by way of outdated and new identities. during this booklet, those questions are addressed via the most favourite students within the box.

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Additional resources for Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives (Transactions (Svenska Forskningsinstitutet I Istanbul), V. 8.)

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3 Cf. ) The Future of Anthropological Knowledge, Routledge, London, 1996, Introduction. Anthropology and ethnicity 21 The Alevi are an excellent case in point. Contrast the situation today with that even a few years ago. Until the wave of industrialization and modernization which has swept through Anatolia since the late sixties and early seventies, the Alevi have been a largely rural community. 4 In practice, however, the rituals and practices of the Anatolian Alevi are those of tight, closely knit but far-flung communities which have developed a complicated and varied modus operandi with the surrounding Sunni villages, so much so that it is not always possible to be clear where Aleviness stops and orthodox Islam begins: indeed individuals may take different lines on precisely this point.

Nothing like this is found on the Sunni side, indeed it contains various elements: the dede who bless the sacrifice, and the men and women gathering together in a private ceremony are characteristic of the Alevi doctrines, whilst the prayer recited by the hoca is associated with orthodox Islamic practice. In sum then, the Alevi acknowledge the different practices of their neighbours but do not disassociate from them entirely in their own ritual and personal life, they contrast the workings of the state with that of their own community but they do not reject the authority of the state.

Today, however, the increasing Sunnification of the Turkish nation has resulted in many Alevi people becoming uneasy. They are explicitly concerned that the ostensibly neutral territory of the state is being used for religious purposes and will accordingly result in their being discriminated against. The Alevi reaction to these fears will not be identical, their community is after all large and diverse. However, there is a sad possibility that increasing sectarian sensitivity will lead to open disagreement, even violence between the two sects.

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