Vahit lütfi salci's studies on alawi music as an example of anthropological orthogenesis Bir antropolojik özsellestirme örnegi olarak vahit lütfi salci'nin alevi müzigi calismalari

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Turk Kulturu ve Haci Bektas Veli - Arastirma Dergisi, vol.96, pp.385-410, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 96
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.34189/hbv.96.017
  • Journal Name: Turk Kulturu ve Haci Bektas Veli - Arastirma Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.385-410
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2020 Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University. All rights reserved.Vahit Lütfi Salci's studies on polyphonic Alawi music are among the most interesting examples of the Early Republican Turkish elite's seeking a pure national essence harmonious with Western music. According to Salci, Turkish folk music is divided into two main branches: Manifest and secret. Secret folk music represented by Alawi tribes organized as closed circles is the authentic expression of pure Turkish culture, since it has been isolated from the cosmopolite Ottoman culture and the urban music which was stigmatized as Oriental music. At the same time, this secret folk music is the pride of the Turkish nation against the civilized Western world since it involves polyphonic elements denoting harmony and counterpoint. The aim of this study is to scrutinize this formulation developed by Salci about secret Alawi music as an example of anthropological orthogenesis and discuss its relation with the official music policy. Anthropological orthogenesis is a concept developed by the author of this article, inspired by both Grunebaum's distinction between orthogenetic and heterogenetic cultural change and Neuman's adaptation of this concept to Cevdet Pasha's ideas. In this article, orthogenesis is defined as the interpretation of heterogenetic cultural changes, which are based on foreign models, as orthogenetic changes, descending from native sources and is divided as archaeological and anthropological orthogenesis. Archaeological orthogenesis refers to the discourse that seeks the source of cultural change in the remote past of the nation as in the Turkish History Thesis. On the other hand, anthropological orthogenesis refers to the discourse that seeks a national essence harmonious with Western culture in closed communities of the villages and attempts to build a narrative of historical continuity as Salci did. Salci's formulation also shares a common ground with the discourses developed to integrate Alawis to the modern Turkish nation-building process and support village-based cultural modernization project which approaches the hybrid urban culture with suspicion. These essentialist discourses based on strict dichotomies tend to ignore the complex interactions in cultural field. Salci who carried these ideas to their most extreme logical conclusions, thus enables us to see better the new potentials they provide and the limitations and paradoxes they generate.