Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism: State Transformation in Turkey, Yıldız Atasoy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009
Abstract Yıldız Atasoy’s recent survey of state transformation in Turkey reiterates some of the most typical shortcomings of Marxian approaches to the Ottoman/Turkish modernisation. This involves an ahistorical conception of capitalism reduced to commercial expansion and a structuralist method that transhistoricises the historical differentiation of the economic from the political. Combined together in Atasoy’s book, capitalism no longer exists in the shape of specific social relations and particular juridical/political forms, but rather it precedes and determines them. Consequently, social struggles over production and reproduction are separated from and no longer implicated within struggles over the redefinition of citizenship, secularism and democracy. An implicit economic determinism eventually prevails, reproducing functionalist modes of argumentation. Based on a theoretical and historical critique of Atasoy’s argument, this review seeks to provide new insights into Ottoman/Turkish modernity from a Political Marxist perspective.