The Web of Clashing Cultural Values: Turkey and the West in Orhan Pamuk's Snow

Bharati Show
2020 Zenodo  
Within the framework of Orhan Pamuk's fiction the shortcomings, failures and idealism of various projects of modernization become prominent and he questions the grand narrative of Eurocentric notions of progress and development. He repeatedly returns to the concerns of the past heritage rather than a continual linear drive towards newness and such a technique enables him to project the tension between pro-Western modernity and tradition in the context of Islamic culture. Turkey's first Nobel
more » ... ey's first Nobel laureate, Ferit Orhan Pamuk's first utmost political novel is Snow. The protagonist's name is Ka, who is strongly rooted in Western secularism and after arriving in Kars, a peripheral city in turkey, he started to realize that his identity is divided. Through different spatial images the author invokes a very ambiguous urban space which is divided between two extreme groups. The question, if the women of Kars are allowed to wear headscarf or not, raise new notions of space, politics and identity and explore the interface between theories of cultural difference and everyday realities of political practice. The Secular state has banned headscarves and the political Islamists want to inscribe their ideologies over the ban, neglecting the voice of the 'headscarf' girls who at the end resort to suicide. This generates a very practical question about whether the civil rights of particular groups may be sacrificed in order to uphold the rights of others. The 'headscarf' girls willingly opted for self-annihilation as they found the clashing cultural values and the clashing political views traumatic. The author never passes his unequivocal judgemental comments. Rather he presents spatio-temporal descriptions of Kars to Frankfurt and emphasizes the state of being torn between two ideologies. This paper aims to show how the identity of a subject position need to be understood not only historically but also spatially as different local political movements have a crucial role to play in their identity formation. Above all politics is terr [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.3972305 fatcat:aqaswyji4bgyzbm5jlvgj3n474