In honor of the late Sakıp Sabancı, Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sabancı University, the Sakıp Sabancı International Research Awards are given each year in the field of social sciences.
THIS YEAR’S THEME IS:
Living Together, Dialogue & Cooperation within Diversity in Turkey
Few would disagree that one of the most pressing issues facing Turkey today concerns living together, dialogue and cooperation within diversity. Following the trajectory of modern nation-states, the Turkish Republic imagined a community sharing a common language, ethnicity, religion, cultural tradition, and social philosophy. However, the Republic was founded upon the ruins of a multilingual, multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural Empire characterized by great diversity. Everyday practices of living together between different communities were disrupted by war and mass violence. During the last few decades, the Pandora’s box of the past has opened, and citizens of Turkey are faced with the task of coming to terms with the past in order to achieve coexistence and peace. What are the lessons of the past for devising contemporary ways of living together? What can be learned from the experiences of particular communities and economic/social groups, especially those that have suffered violence, discrimination, and exclusion in the past and/or in the present? Widespread public debate and successful mobilization on the basis of identity politics and human rights by/for diverse peoples of this land in recent years demonstrates the robustness of civil society in Turkey. Yet the experience of violence and the inflexibility and resistance of the nation-state, whether at the level of the military, governments, the mass media, or individuals and groups in society, has led to greater polarization, making the possibility of living together ever more difficult. What are the political, economic, social, historical, and cultural factors that contribute to polarization and stand in the way of engaging in constructive dialogue and cooperation? How can political, legal, economic, social, cultural, moral, and affective structures and practices be mobilized to mend the rupture among groups and individuals? How can dialogue and cooperation between institutions and individuals representing different political and social persuasions be enhanced?
Essays providing pathbreaking theoretical analyses and innovative suggestions on this theme are welcome.
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