2013 CESNUR - The Gulen movement and its contributions (revised version)
The Gulen movement and itscontributions: New socialmovements perspectiveLiu, Yu-cheng, PhDAssistant Master, Residential College of InternationalDevelopment, National Chengchi University, TaiwanAssistant Professor, National Chiao Tung University,TaiwanE-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgThe 2013 CESNUR conferenceChanging Religious Movements in aChanging WorldDalarna University, Falun (Sweden), 21-24, June, 2013
• The Gulen community, some say, ‘one ofthe most influential revivalist movementsin modern turkey,’ founded by FethullahGulen, makes the silent reformationpossible (Özdalga, 2005, p. 430).
Fethullah Gulen paida visit to the lateJohn Paul IIin Rome in 1998
several characteristics of the Gulencommunity and the movement• The founder of the Gulen movement isFethullah Gulen, who was born in atraditional Muslim family and waseducated as a thinker and preacher.• His thoughts was colored heavily with theteachings of Sufi orders, particularly thoseof Said Nursi, Gulen’s teacher.
some characteristics-2• among all fields, education was the mostimportant section emphasized anddeveloped by Mr. Gulen• other sections the Gulen communitydeveloped: economic enterprises,publications and broadcasting, andreligious gatherings• there is no strict organization governingthe activities of the Gulen community
some characteristics-3• faith-based, apolitical movement:–the Gulen movement is faith-based butnot religion-based in the sense thatthose universal values supported by themovement have their origin in Islam,pursuing them is exactly on the rightway to the faith
some characteristics-4• The Gulen movement gains its support frombusinessmen, intellectuals, educators,workers, and students, but not from militariesand politicians (however changed recently).• it is identity-oriented in that it combines threeelements as the identity of the movement:Ottoman legacy, secular Turkey, and Islam• the Gulen movement is secular: itappropriates liberal market economy to gainmaterial supports and to make sure itsconnection to the secular world
some characteristics-sum• Advocating liberal market economy, closeto Sufi teachings and orders, reconcilingIslam with science, are characteristics ofthe Gulen movement and of the teachingsof Mr. Gulen
regarding its aspects of socialmovement• the people, including Fethullah Gulenhimself, who participate in this movement,are rational in that the movementadvocates liberal market economy and theuse of modern media technology• the movement is purposeful, aiming atworld peace and intercultural dialogue
difference between social and NEWsocial movements• ‘a critical ideology in relation to modernismand progress, decentralized andparticipatory organizational structures,defense of interpersonal solidarity againstthe great bureaucracies, and thereclamation of autonomous spaces, ratherthan material advantages’ (Porta and Diani)
the Gulen movement as NEWsocial movement• The ‘newness’ lies in the fact that it islargely an identity seeking and rebuildingmovement, and it concerns not just faith,but also people’s life, starting fromeducational reformation
• paradoxically, the aims of the Gulencommunity are to some extent contradictwith liberal market economy through whichthe Gulen community gains its power anddevelopment
• first of all, the Gulen movement to somerespect advocates liberal market economy,and regards it as a way for Turkey todevelop its identity combining Ottoman,Turkish, and Islam.• however, the Gulen movement does notoppose the intervention of the state intopeople’s life, which is not supported byliberal market economy.
• The legitimacy of the Gulen movement isgenerated through advocating liberal marketeconomy and democracy, and admitting thatIslam and science are not incompatible viapromoting education reforms.• It was so in the society of Turkey by the1980s that give legitimacy to various newsocial movements and social groups,including the Gulen community
the contributions-1• The failing of Kemalism by the 1980screated a kind of vernacularization inpolitical dimension and leaded to thetransmission of Islam from private to publicsphere, and that transformed the societyof Turkey, the Gulen community plays animportant role in this ‘deprivatization’ ofIslam.
the contributions-2• the Gulen community plays the role ofmediator between the individual and thestate, for it ‘helps to formulate solutions atthe level of individual autonomy thatprepare the way for the development andintegration of the individual into themodern nation state’
the contributions-3• the Gulen movement voices for humanrights, justice, world peace, interculturaland interfaith dialogue, environmentalissues, educational problems, and so on• instead of liberal market economy, culturalfactors are important in supporting themovement: society-centric, identity-oriented, faith-based instead of religion-based, and secular
four elements corresponding to fourcultural and social factorssociety-centric ordinary peopleidentity-oriented Ottoman-Turkish-Islamfaith-based universal values originated inIslamsecular liberal market economy
the contributions-4• when globalization leads to a homogeneous worldand a westernized society, the particularity of theGulen movement lies in its delimitation toglobalization and liberal market economy• the faith-based ideals and actions make theparticipants of the Gulen movement to rethink therole of capitalism and liberal market played in theirlife, as a tool for supporting the movement, it ispossible for them not to be influenced by somenegative aspects of both of them
the contributions-5• the faith-based character ‘pulls them out of’the secular way, advocating capitalism andliberal market economy, they are using toachieve their goals.• This is similar to what Heidegger talkedabout: the ‘authenticity’ of life
the contributions-6• It is also possible for those people whoparticipating in the Gulen movementavoiding from the crisis of identity, which isalso one of the consequences ofcapitalism and neo-/liberal economy
conclusion-1• the Gulen movement as NEW socialmovement, not exactly NEW religiousmovement• its NEWNESS lies in its legitimacy inpursuing identity and universal valueswhen considering the formation of nationstate or modernity• the Gulen movement should bereconsidered in the sense of ‘the social’
conclusion-2• four elements corresponding to four socialfacts:–they constitute its legitimacy not only inTurkish society, but also in the world–they may contribute and complement tothe world where the faith and valueshave been lost while pursuing blindlymaterial achievements