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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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Volume 2012, Issue 217


Modernity and the linguistic genocide of Kurds in Turkey

Desmond Fernandes,
Published Online: 2012-09-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0050


Zygmunt Bauman, Alexander Laban Hilton and Paul Havemann, amongst others, have argued that genocide is intimately linked to modernity. Modern discourses on development, modernization and western science as well as key meta-narratives of modernity (advancing the teleological myth of progress and civilization), “gardener's visions” and the very categorization and standardization of national languages (crucial to the biopolitical formation of global populations under the system of modern nation-states) have all legitimated and effected policies and practices that have been genocidal in their nature and scope. This article examines and details the extent to which all these identified aspects of modernity can be observed in the case of Turkey. The findings indicate that linguistic/cultural and physical genocide of Kurds in Turkey has taken place (over the past eight and a half decades) as a direct consequence of the Kemalist/Ataturkist modernity project. Language policy – which has advocated linguistic imperialism alongside linguistic genocide – has been a critical tool for the creation of the modern Turkish nation-state.

Keywords: Kurds; modernity; genocide; triage

About the article

Published Online: 2012-09-14

Published in Print: 2012-09-13

Citation Information: , Volume 2012, Issue 217, Pages 75–98, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0050.

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©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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