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30 ESA Social Theory Conference, Innsbruck, September 11-13, 2008

Mariam Meynert

Lund, Sweden

relationships and context.

From a postmodern

perspective, there is not such thing as “the child” or

Inserting childhood, pedagogy, and educational

“childhood”,

an

essential

being

waiting

to

be

research into modernity Theoretical reflections

and

postmodernity

This paper locates the concept of childhood within two paradigmatic discourses in the area of the New

discovered, defined and realized.

There are many

children and many childhoods, each constructed by our understanding of childhood and what children are and should be – constructions produced within dominant

discourses located within the project of modernity.

It

Sociology of postmodernity.

Childhood Modernist

viz. modernity and perspective/paradigm

further

practice

attempts

to

locate

educational

theory

and

construction

of

knowledge

within

these

and

two

locates itself in the dualistic and either /or approach, while postmodernist perspective locates itself in valuing

paradigms and finally inserts research theory practices within modernity and postmodernity.

and

diversity

and

both/and

approach.

Studies

related

to

childhood

by and large

have

been

embedded in

modernist

understanding

of the

child

as a unified,

the

reified and essentialized subject – at the centre world, that can be viewed and treated apart from

of

Anil Mühürdaroğlu

Ankara, Turkey

Embedded limits of national sociologies: the case of Turkey

Discussions on the Turkish society have usually been conducted upon its in-between position with respect to Eastern and Western civilizations. Regardless of being the proponents of modernist-progressivist, conservative or syncretistic camps, Turkish social scientists utilized the East-West duality for their investigations in several forms like secularism-Islam, urban-rural or center- periphery. Although having certain benefits as an analytical tool, the structural features of the Turkish society forced social scientists to adopt the East-West duality as an essential distinction, which served as an epistemological obstacle for sociologists' ability to penetrate into social phenomena. Modernization theorists undermined micro-scale investigations as valid research units and preferred to label communities or social groups as 'modernized' or 'conservative' with respect to certain characteristics which they believed to

indicate the degree of modernization. Culture-oriented studies, on the other hand, could not synthesize their analyses with structural changes and considered religion as an independent variable. As a result, early sociological studies in Turkey could not supply sufficient material for contemporary sociologists who are embarked on reinterpreting the Turkish society with new conceptual tools of the emerging approaches to identity formation. The clash between the 'old' and 'new' thematic interests constituted an additional obstacle for improving sociology's foundational fields of investigation with the positive contributions of contemporary approaches through which the dynamics of Turkish society could have been understood with alternative categories. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the self- limitations of Turkish sociology in terms of developing the conceptual devices for interpreting the dynamics of the Turkish society.

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