The discursive governance of population politics: the evolution of a pro-birth regime in Turkey

Umut Korkut, Hande Eslen-Ziya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

This article investigates the puzzle of the emergence of Turkish politicians’ discourse on population stagnation and growth despite healthy population growth and an above-replacement-level birth rate. We understand this emergence through considering how politicians link national identity and economic value to population increase. Empirically, our article traces the slogans that then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the governing party politicians used to frame the “population issue” in Turkey from 2008 to 2013. Drawing from the Ajans Press database of over 5,000 newspaper articles, we selected 120 of the news items including politicians’ slogans: the terms children, women, economy, family, morality, and birth. We grouped them in four clusters: youth/young couples, children, population control/abortion, and prosperity. This allowed us to depict how politicians’ slogans sustain the dimensions of population politics that we inductively generated. We show that the “three children” slogan of the current President Erdogan preceded and replaced population policy deliberations, and affected the public discursively. Thanks to a media that is only semi-free, this discourse has acquired an existence beyond the context where it was initially expressed. We argue that the norms embedded in political discourse and circulated for public deliberation generate the discursive governance of population politics. Thereby, politicians advance governance even without introducing major policy changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-575
Number of pages3
JournalSocial Politics
Early online date4 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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politician
Turkey
regime
governance
politics
deliberation
discourse
population policy
birth rate
stagnation
economic value
prosperity
abortion
population growth
morality
national identity
minister
newspaper
president
news

Keywords

  • politics
  • governance
  • Turkey

Cite this

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abstract = "This article investigates the puzzle of the emergence of Turkish politicians’ discourse on population stagnation and growth despite healthy population growth and an above-replacement-level birth rate. We understand this emergence through considering how politicians link national identity and economic value to population increase. Empirically, our article traces the slogans that then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the governing party politicians used to frame the “population issue” in Turkey from 2008 to 2013. Drawing from the Ajans Press database of over 5,000 newspaper articles, we selected 120 of the news items including politicians’ slogans: the terms children, women, economy, family, morality, and birth. We grouped them in four clusters: youth/young couples, children, population control/abortion, and prosperity. This allowed us to depict how politicians’ slogans sustain the dimensions of population politics that we inductively generated. We show that the “three children” slogan of the current President Erdogan preceded and replaced population policy deliberations, and affected the public discursively. Thanks to a media that is only semi-free, this discourse has acquired an existence beyond the context where it was initially expressed. We argue that the norms embedded in political discourse and circulated for public deliberation generate the discursive governance of population politics. Thereby, politicians advance governance even without introducing major policy changes.",
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The discursive governance of population politics: the evolution of a pro-birth regime in Turkey. / Korkut, Umut; Eslen-Ziya, Hande.

In: Social Politics, 12.2016, p. 555-575.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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