Being and Becoming through Facebook

Being and Becoming through Facebook

An Ethnographic Approach to Language, Community, and Identity

Performances of Young Turkish-American Women

Aslihan Akkaya

PhD, Linguistic Anthropology

Thursday, March 3, 2014

7:00 PM, Young Hall 111

This talk presents the incorporation of a new media tool into existing practices and performances of a unique group of social mediators, who are a group of young Turkish-American women affiliated with a faith-based civic movement (Hizmet Movement), paying special attention to ideologies about friendship and devotion to God. This study shows how linguistic, media, and religious ideologies intersect in the integration of Facebook as a communication medium in the religious practices of this group of young women and how in this negotiation process they index their identity as emergent in discourse via employed practices and performances. In this ethnography of local practices of these young Turkish-American women, I found that they, after being dispersed to different locations, began to see Facebook as a vital means to maintain their group ties. Furthermore, their use of Facebook from 2008 to 2011 focused more and more on Hizmet purposes. Stepping into the ideological realm, I understand that the notion of friendship is highly influenced by an ideology of tefânî (advanced level of religious brotherhood). That is, true/religious brotherhood is one of the important principles of gaining ikhlas (sincerity) and hence a way to establish good relations with God; these young women see Facebook as a means to further their relationship with their sisters and thus establish a good relationship with God.

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