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The Modern Dede: Changing Parameters For Religious Authority In Contemporary Turkish Alevism

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Chapter Summary

While Turkey is beginning its membership negotiations with the European Union, Turkish Alevis try to capitalize on the European pressure for reform. Most Alevis welcome the understanding of the European Commission that Alevis form a religious community deserving recognition. This chapter describes the present Alevi debate on the modern dede and analyzes it in the context of the contemporary reformulation of Alevism in terms of culture and religion. It argues that dedelik, the institution of the dede, is being secularized, i.e., the role of the dede is constrained to ritual contexts increasingly defined as religious in opposition to non-religious functions such as representation of the community. The chapter gives a brief account of the traditional dedelik and the changes it underwent in the course of Alevisms transformations in the 20th century .

Keywords: European Union; modern dede; turkish alevism



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