Umut Yıldırım / The Representation and the Perception of the United States in Turkey (1946-1961)

The Representation and the Perception of the United States in Turkey (1946-1961)

This study, as a modest contribution to the larger discourse about the relationship between modernization and Americanism at the global level, aims at analyzing the representation and the perception of the American way of life by the Turkish middle-class. Social classes and interest groups perceived and reacted to the penetration of the American economic, political and cultural influence in Turkey in divergent ways. The fifteen years following World War Two witnessed indeed an increasing reverence for anything American, ranging from "refrigerators" to social organizations of relations. The United States of America, as the alternative to Europe, was situated as the new reference point for the modernization of Turkey. In this study, Americanism is conceived as a central concept symbolizing the diffusion and the transformation of the United States' repertoire of guiding ideals, which provide arguments toward the rejection or the advocacy of America. Accordingly, in this study, the popular magazines of the period alongside with the writings of the period's intellectuals and the novels will be read against their grain both to acknowledge the representation of hegemonic cultural and ideological meanings originating from the American cultural repertoire during the fifties and to comprehend "the America" in the minds of the Turkish middle-class.