Osmanlı-Türkiye Modernleşme Tartışmalarında Yöntem Sorunsalı
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The literature on Turkish modernization has mostly been dominated by two problematical perspectives. The first one explains historical development of the society by reducing it to the will and practices of particular individuals or certain group of people endowed with positive or negative features (subject-centered historiography). In this kind of analyzes, historical development takes place through decisions of the subjects who are supposed to determine the social transformation and historical trajectory from outside. The second problem, which is very common in the literature and not independent from the first one, is particularism. In such interpretations, it is argued that the historical development of Turkey is unique; therefore any analysis for Turkey (and the Ottoman past) should have unique and local content. These two methodological perspectives cause significant difficulties in understanding the historical development of Turkish society. The basic argument put forward throughout this study is that the historical development of the society should be analyzed by prioritizing the whole over the parts, the structure over the subjects and the objective conditions over the forms of thought. The three-legged (total-particular-singular) explanatory model that is attempted to be developed in this study is designed to create a framework in which such analysis can be made possible. According to this model, in the first dimension of the analysis (total), Turkish modernization is treated as constituting any part of the transformation of pre-modern societies into modern societies (or in other words; as being any part of the historical development of civilization roughly in the 18th - 20th century that has combined characteristics). In the second dimension of the analysis, Turkish modernization is considered as the experience of belated modernization (particular). Here, many unique qualities attributed to the Turkish modernization are analyzed together with the structural factors at play in the Ottoman context and some other countries that also experienced the actual acceleration of the process of modernization in the second half of the XIX. century, which is the imperialist age of capitalism. The third dimension (singular) is devoted to the peculiar historical conditions that surrounded the will and practices of political subjects in Turkey. With this three-leg explanation model, it is aimed to point out (I) the limitations of the determinative power attributed to the subjects (II) and the problematic aspects of the particularist forms of explanation in the discussions of Turkish modernization.