Turkey: A Case of Modernization at Historical, Political, and Socio-cultural Cross-roads
Abstract and Keywords
The establishment of psychology in Turkey is reviewed both as an academic discipline and as a profession, beginning with its early inception during the late Ottoman Empire and continuing to the present. A brief historical account of the drastic social transformations of the vast premodern empire into the modern secular state-nation in response to European modernity, and its capitalist social order, social institutions, and individual citizen is provided first as a macro sociopolitical context for this journey. Various phases of the history of psychology in Turkey are described in connection with the specific topics of the transfer and translation of Western psychology, scientification and institutionalization, expansion and education, localization and (re)production of knowledge, professional practice, and status and organization of psychology. Some reflections on mainstream psychological knowledge/practice also are offered.
Keywords: Psychology in Turkey, lack of indigenization, secularization, alternative modernities, Turkish modernization, globalization, psychology’s role in society, nation building, construction of Turkish subjectivities
Psychology in Turkey is no different from mainstream (Anglo-American) psychology in the sense that it appeared for some time somewhat immune to the constructive role of writing its own history. Thanks to various pivotal works (e.g., Danziger, 1990; Hacking, 1995; Rose, 1996; 1989), the sociocultural and historical locality of parochial and hegemonic Psychology, as well as how Psychology and its subject matter (human subjectivity) make up and co-construct each other, have been revealed over the past two decades.1 In the meantime, various international collections with descriptive, sociohistorical, or comparative national/cultural interests (e.g., Gilgen & Gilgen, 1987; Sexton & Hogan, 1992; Stevens & Wedding, 2004) looked at the histories of Psychology around the world, including Turkey. Although the common practice is to seek protagonists and turning points in the establishment of modern Psychology in each society, there is no room left for doubt that the internationalization of universalist and normative Euro-American psychology, either explicitly or implicitly, is frequently valued among psychologists globally. Not only that, the dissemination of psychological knowledge/practice also is well assimilated as a unidirectional process from the “developed central West” to the “underdeveloped peripheral rest” for the sake of Enlightenment’s (then modernity’s) grand narrative of progress and in the name of utopic emancipation and liberation. The historical, political, economic, religious, cultural, social, and even linguistic conditions, as well as the contingency of human psychological experience, knowledge, and practice on those conditions, are easily overlooked by most parties around the globe, and Turkey is no exception (Gergen et al., 1996). Even when cultural diversity is recognized via cross-cultural psychology and multiculturalist discourses, the habit of treating culture (p. 548) and national identity as static, essentializing and as reifying categories remains. Thus, the differences as well as the similarities in historical (pre-modern, modern, and postmodern) conditions of possibility are ignored.
It would be a serious mistake or naivete, for example, to ignore the prolonged past of the traditional subject matter of psychology in Turkey, to deem it premodern philosophy, or to devalue its spirituality and wisdom knowledge, as is frequently the case in the West. However, it is equally curious to speculate why an indigenous psychology did not emerge over the past century in this land, which is known both geographically and metaphorically as the “oldest cradle of civilizations.” Why has Psychology failed to find itself a comfortable place in this liberal democratic society (cf., Brock, 2006) in three-quarters of a century, in spite of its early entry that predated the change of the regime? How do we conceptualize the lack of fit and asymmetrical interaction patterns between mainstream Psychology and everyday Turkish practices, culture, and thought? What does the state of alienation and muteness of a spiritualist, altruist, holistic, and pluralist tradition experienced before the hegemonic dichotomic, materialist, self-centric, reductionist, and universalist thought have to say to a rapidly internationalizing/globalizing, insensitive, and ignorant Psychology? And how? How do we analyze the sociopolitical impact of the micropowers of technologies of the self and their subjectifying psychological practices (cf. Rose, 2000) on the modernization, development, and democratization of Turkish society?
It is with these and other critical questions in mind, and from a biased trans(post)disciplinary and trans(post)national position, namely the Self-reflective transformative/transformational perspective (e.g., Gülerce, 2006a; 2009a), that I here attempt a brief historical account of the “underdeveloped,” “awkward,” or “self-alien” Psychology in Turkey. Thus, I hope that the reader may draw some parallels between mainstream Psychology’s disciplinary identity formation within the cartography of all knowledge and the hierarchical relations between modern disciplines, particularly concerning its meta-scientific commitments and method, and the imitative, yet hesitant development of Psychology in Turkey, which is heavily embedded in a dynamic political, cultural, and religious geography that places it between “the West and the rest,” as they have tremendous similarity in character.
Turkey’s meeting with modern Psychology, which approximately occurred at the same time as the young discipline’s establishment in European and American centers, also coincides with its major societal transformation from the vast, premodern Ottoman Empire to the young secular, modern nation-state of the Turkish Republic. So, in what follows, I first summarize this unique transition experience at many levels, to describe the sociopolitical glocal (both global and local at once) context for the history of Psychology in Turkey. I then overview the significant people, events, and institutions in various phases of psychology’s developmental trajectories, both as an academic discipline and profession, to account for its multiple origins without scientific, philosophical, and (meta) theoretical foundations. I contour the historical picture in terms of the translation and transfer, scientific and public status, institutionalization, education and training, research and social relevance, professional practice and regulation, expansion and popularization of psychology in Turkey, which those phases highlight. I will try to further contour, if not to complete, the picture by providing some general information and ideas on the current situation in each area. As my ultimate hope is that the resilience of psychology as a traditional subject matter in Turkey (despite institutional and intentional efforts and high aspirations to “be like” or “develop as” mainstream American psychology) will be used in the service of radical (meta)scientific transformations of global Psychology, I also offer some reflections from within the junction of North, East, West, and SouthP. This, prior to anything else, calls for a brief account that will situate the development of modern Psychology in this land, within its broader global historical and philosophical context.
Long Historical and Deep Philosophical Resources
Because of a widespread tendency to treat culture asa “noun-phenomena” rather than a dynamic process, and as synonymous with nation, race/ethnicity, language, religion, or geographical region, etc., it is understood as an essentializing, static, and analytical category—if it is recognized at all. It is almost exclusively used in the academic literature to make some comparisons based on Eurocentric attitudes and standards. Moreover, as another enduring habit of universalist Western thought, other worldviews have been viewed in terms of differences, rather than similarities, which frequently are understood as species-specific human universals. Differences, on the other hand, refer to the underdevelopment, deprivation, or deviance of some individuals, groups, or societies. Thus, culture has served as an explanatory substantive and (p. 549) has been presumed to be unchangeable. Although, “Turkish culture” is not an exception, I know of no better case with which to challenge all these invalid presumptions and problematic definitions.
Let us begin by roughly locating Anatolian Turks in historical geography, if only to challenge further the issues of where to begin and of the linear, unidirectional, and deterministic presumptions of development (Gülerce, 1997) and cultural dissemination from one center to the periphery, when reading or writing history. A rather recent exhibit that took place at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, entitled “Turks: A Journey of Thousand Years 600–1600,” for instance, displayed many historical artifacts for very first time in the Western world. This particular exhibit alone made it strikingly apparent that the artistic achievements and cultural richness of the nomadic Turkic-speaking peoples of the past were reflected their adaptability to, and influence on, the regional cultures of the people they ruled since early times. The Kok Turks, for example, were one of the largest and most enduring Turkic-speaking peoples living on the northern borders of China proper between the 4th and 6th centuries ad. In the 6th century, they established the first great empire as a nomadic confederation of shamanistic tribes. In the 7th century, however, they broke up, and the eastern part became assimilated with the Chinese civilization, giving rise to the Mongols. The western part was influenced by the Islamic civilizations of the Middle East. The Uighur Turks remained in northern Mongolia, and the Kırgız Turks moved to the steppes further to the north. The Oğuz Turks (called the Turkmen in Europe) dominated the area between Mongolia and Transoxiania. Their contacts with Muslim missionaries (who interpreted Islam in a particular way), merchants, and warriors led to further assimilation. Turkic peoples who migrated to Anatolia were the Seljuiks (1040–1243), the Timurids (1370–1500), and the Ottomans (1453–1923). After conquering Constantinople and renaming it Istanbul (in Turkish), the Ottomans put an end to the Byzantine Empire. Famous sultans like Mehmet the Conqueror, Soliman the Magnificent, and their successors ruled many diverse peoples of the Balkans and Hungary in the west, North Africa, and the Arabian peninsula in the south, and the Crimea in the north. By the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire had become one of the grandest and longest-lived empires in human history. The empire could not resist the industrial and intellectual revolutions of modernity originated in northern Europe that followed Enlightenment rationality, however, and it gradually declined and was fragmented. Following the World War I and the War of Turkish Independence, the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), the commander who had fought in the Gallipoli wars as well as others for independence to establish a parliamentary and secular nation-state, and to end the Caliphate. Under his leadership, the society realized radical social reforms in its early years.
Most historians’ begin a historical background of current Turkish society with the advent of nomadic Turks into Anatolia in the 11th century. Yet, this has been a controversial date itself, and most recent evidence from DNA matching between current Anatolians and archeological samples further indicated their much earlier residence, thus raising many new questions. From different disciplinary evidence, it was also argued that Indo-European languages did not derive from the Russian plains, but from the Hittites who spoke Anatolian languages (Renfrew, 1987). It would be interesting to argue for, or simply note that, despite the Western world’s Orientalist constructions and stubborn reproductions of Turkishness as an (“mild”) Islamic identity (as a “role model” for the Arabic Islamic world), the Hatti and the Hittite cultures and civilizations have much deeper and constructive role in the cultural/intellectual identity of the Anatolian Turks than Islam.
In fact, anyone with some philosophical, political, and critical interests in archeology and the genealogy of historical, philosophical, and psychological knowledge cannot ignore the earlier civilizations of Anatolia that date back thousands of years before Christ. That is precisely because no one who actually lives in or visits Turkey today can (or should) avoid mingling with their remains, literally and metaphorically, on just about every corner. Thus, it is equally hard to ignore their current reproductions in everyday life and the sociocultural discourse this engenders in a country that is very like an outdoor “museum” to an “outsider”. Being able to speak about Turkey in general, or on the history of psychology in Turkey in particular, calls for an appreciation of the transformative accumulation of those past civilizations and the blending of many peoples of diverse origins. Clearly, a polyphony of voices from those civilizations and cultural traditions, which had distinct orientations toward human psychological life-worlds, have been appropriated. Yet, there can be found no systematic historical account to chart the effects of all these on today’s psychology in Turkey (nor may one be necessary). Although what is to follow is far from compensating such a lack, I nevertheless expect to invite the (p. 550) historian (of modern psychology) to redefine the depth (and the moral tone) of his or her vision.
Although it is not a usual practice in Western history of psychology, even an extremely quick look back in time over Turkey’s humanitarian history can begin with the Paleontologic period (600,000–10,000 bc), as the oldest settlements in Anatolia (e.g., Yarimburgaz and Karain) still vividly represent all phases of the Paleolithic Age with no interruption. Not only that the earliest evidence of Neolithic (8000–5500 bc) agricultural life is found in the region (e.g., Hacilar and Catalhoyuk, but also no anthropological evidence of origin of these people have been traced elsewhere They are most famously known for their worship of the Mother Goddess (the symbol of contemporary feminists) and Taurus (symbol of fertility), as well as for their great artistic achievements. Chalcolitichic (5500–3000 bc) centers (e.g., Beycesultan, Alacahoyuk, Alisar, and Canhasan) are the indications of not only sophisticated metal industry, but also of highly sophisticated in interpersonal communication skills and trade relations with people from Syria and Mesopotamia on the east and the Balkans and Mediterranean regions on the west. During the Bronze Age (3000–1200 bc) Hatti and later Hittite cultures appear, both of which deserve a closer look. The advanced intellectual level of these people who lacked a native written tradition, especially the complexity of their cosmic views (e.g., the sun-disc with its radial lobes representing the planets) and monumental architecture (e.g., the 60-room palace at Kultepe), is well-known. It was the Hatti who gave their name to Anatolia (the land of Hatti). They built Karums (market cities), where trade with Assyrians took place. Written history started in Anatolia with the introduction of the Assyrian language and the use of cylinder seals by traders. The tablets from this period are in cuneiform script and are not only about trading activities but also detail the private psychological lives of people.
Hittites migrated to Anatolia in 2000 bc and admittedly found Hattis highly civilized. They peacefully diffused with the Hattians through intermarriages and shared in the worship of the native deities. By the 18th century bc, they established a powerful empire, with a culture that was a true mixture of native Anatolian and Hurrian traditions. They (Empire Muwattalis) fought with the Egyptians (King Ramses II) at the famous battle of Kadesh, where both parties claimed victory. Following the first recorded international political peace treaty in the world, the kings and the queens exchanged personal letters for 13 years, and Hattusilis’ daughter married the Egyptian Pharaoh. Indeed, the Hittites were known to be very cosmopolitan toward the Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian peoples. They used a hieroglyphic writing other than the cuneiform script, and were the first literate civilization in Anatolia. Their Law Code appears to be more humane and democratic than others in the ancient world, and it later influenced Ionians to take the first steps toward democracy, which was exported to the West through them. Their religion had thousands of deities and the Sun-goddess Hepat, for instance, was the precursor of Hera (Zeus’s wife) and Eve (Adam’s wife). Furthermore, the significant number 12 first appeared in a relief of 12 gods in Yazilikaya that was repeated in the 12 gods of Olympus, the 12 cities of Panionium, the 12 Apostles, the 12 Imams of Islamic mysticism, the 12 zodiac signs, 12 in a dozen and 12 months in a year.
Following the Phrygians’ (known as the “Sea Peoples”) destruction the Hittite Empire in 1200 bc, including Troy and other cities in Anatolia, Anatolia entered a Dark Age. About four centuries later, most advanced civilizations simultaneously flourished on each corner of the peninsula: Phyrigia, Lydia, Caria, Urart, and Ionia. During the 8th century bc, the Phrygian kingdom reached its zenith, with Midas (famous for the Gordian knot and other epic stories in mythology). In the meantime, the Urartians, descendants of Hurrians, had established their own state around Lake Van in 1000 bc and competed with Assyrians to rule eastern and south eastern Anatolia for three centuries. Between 1100 and 600 bc, growing populations of three Hellenistic tribes, the Ionians, Dors, and Aeolians, moved to Western Anatolia. Ionians, in particular, were heavily influenced by the preexisting Anatolian cultures, as is well-documented. They rapidly developed the Ionian Golden Age. However, it was Ionians who set the earliest date of Greek–Anatolian competition in history. Ionians in Anatolia were intellectually more advanced than the Ionians in Greece and the islands. Among them were famous historical characters such as Diogenes, Eusope, Herodotus, Homeros, and Thales (father of philosophy), living near Mount Ida (where Paris presented the golden apple to Aphrodite according to mythology). These pre-Socratic people are important to the history of psychology, because more than myth and religion, they valued reason and observation in seeking answers to their questions about ontology and cosmology. They were monists.
Panionium, the league of a religious and cultural organization of 12 cities (Miletus, Myus, Priene, Samos, Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Erythrae, (p. 551) Chios, Clozomenae, and Phocaea) that the Ionians established was destroyed by the Persian King Cyrus the Great in 546 bc. It was then that most Ionian philosophers, intellectuals, and artists migrated to Athens and Rome. Thus, the foundations of the highly admired Greek civilization and the roots of democracy later established in Athens in 508 bc were built much earlier in Anatolia (Akurgal). Ionians who remained in Anatolia, on the other hand, were ruled by the Persians until Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Persian Empire (334–325 bc). Plato (427–347 bc) and his pupil Aristotle (384–322 bc, father of philosophical and metaphysical psychology) also lived and tought in Ionia. Alexander the Great was influenced by both philosophers and that is perhaps why his cultural policy was known to be respectful of the Eastern World and why he made significant attempts toward integration of the East and the West. This is totally unlike what occurred during the anarchic times of the Diadochi in the Hellenictic age (300–133 bc) following his death in 323 bc. Greek dominance in Western Anatolia lasted for another century until Julius Caesar’s famous “Veni, Vidi, Vici” after the battle in Central Anatolia and before his meeting with Cleopatra in South Anatolia (Antioch) in 30 bc.
That part of Anatolian history occurring after the birth of Jesus Christ, and encompassing St. Paul’s and St. Barnaba’s visits to Anatolia, the Seven Churches, St. Nicholas’ birth in Antalya, and the Virgin Mary’s residence and death in Ephesus (Efes) is better known to Western and Judeo-Christian readers. The first Christians who escaped Romans and Arabs carved churches in the underground cities of Cappadocia in central Turkey. Pergamum had the sacred area of Asclepion, which was known as the healing complex, and it continues to host international meetings of various professional psychology groups (e.g., group therapists) annually.
In 330 ad, the Roman Emperor Constantine made the ancient city of Byzantium (Istanbul) his second capital (in addition to Rome), naming it Constantinople. Hence, the empire later took the name of the Byzantine Empire. The Roman Empire had been divided in 395 ad by Theodosius I: The Western, or the Latin part collapsed in 476 ad; the eastern, or the Hellenistic part survived longer and turned itself toward the Orient to expand. Justinianus, the last Caesar of the Roman Empire, also conquered North Africa and Spain, making the Mediterranean Sea a Roman lake. He had St. Sophia, known to be the greatest Christian church on earth, built in Constantinople. In 1100 ad, the Empire experienced inner conflicts between its generals and its bureaucracy, while Seljuks were conquering Anatolia. The brutal Fourth Crusade in 1204 ad turned the great capital over to the Latin Empire until it was regained by Nicaea, who reestablished the Greek, Byzantine Empire in 1261 ad. His followers worked hard to unite the Orthodox and Catholic churches in return for Western aid against the migration coming from the Central Asian steps: the Turks.
In short, Turkishness throughout history has meant appropriating, having, or living within many worlds throughout time. Thus, in my analysis, artificially constructed and frequently imposed Cartesian dichotomic oppositions such as East and West, Islam and Christian, Arab and Hindu, and so on and so forth have little historical, ecological, cultural, or psychological validity or relevance in Turkish intellectual, philosophical, or moral reasoning. Instead, the enduring cultural characteristic of Turkishness has been the seeking and finding of harmony in amalgamations of multiple discourses of human civilization and of plural life-forms. This sets an example for what I call cultural cosmopolitanism (that is different from the contemporary notion of “cosmopolitanism” in social and political theories).
As indicated above, early Anatolian civilizations were highly advanced and egalitarian in that they influenced other cultures at the time, including Hellenistic thought. Hellenistic philosophy and science in turn helped the development of Islamic culture and thought between the 7th and 9th century. The first contacts of the Muslim Turks with the Christian Western world started in the 11th century. During the 12th and 13th centuries, many works by Islamic scholars were translated from Arabic to Latin. All humanistic religions led to introversion and spiritualization as the necessary foundations of modernity. However, while the Buddhist and Islamic worlds remained stuck in the scholastic, the Christian world was able to move beyond it over the centuries with the help of many historical conditions such as Renaissance. This observation itself calls for a critical, philosophical, and /psychological analysis.
Clearly, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam relied on a very different ontology and a view of life that differed widely from those of mythology or paganism. They all gave way to spiritualism and introversion. Indeed, it is no coincidence that St. Augustine (354–430), known as the greatest of the Church Fathers, is also frequently acknowledged as the “first modern psychologist” in the Western literature. His Confessions exemplified the power of introspection (p. 552) and self-analysis. Nevertheless, it is Plotinus (205–270) of Egypt who has more crucial value for this particular text. He articulated the notion of self-consciousness that anticipated Locke’s “reflection” and Wundt’s “introspection” even prior to St. Augustine. But his greatest significance lies in his attempts to integrate Plato and Aristotle with the monist Oriental conceptions of the world and the human soul. During the 4th–10th centuries, while Western thought languished in the Dark Ages, his ideas, and those of many Jewish, Arab, and Turkish scholars flourished in the Middle East, producing a list of names whose scope exceeds this chapter. It may be relevant to note, however, that the gnostic hermitism of Babil and the dualist manicheism of Iran also had strong influences on the Islamic philosophies of kelam (philosophy of religion), fikih (philosophy of law), and tasavvuf (mysticism). Some works by Razi (Ebu Bekr Zekeriya), El-Kindi, Ebu Ali Rica, Ebu Atahiyye, Ibn ul-Mukaffa, Ibn Ravendi, and Farabi, for example, were translated into Latin in their times.
Without providing a detailed discussion, here I would like to draw brief attention to Farabi (870–950), because he made significant philosophical contributions to the formation and development of Turkish psychological common-sense which in turn cultivated the intellectual milieu for the advent of psychology as a modern discipline. In his works, namely El-Talim us-sani (first encyclopedia of Turkish-Islamic philosophy), Resail-i Ihvan-us-safa, Ihsa-ul-ulum, and Mevzuat ul-ulum, for example, Farabi came up with a scientific classification and method that was different from those formulated by Aristotle. Farabi’s scientific method is based on three sources of knowledge: senses, intellect, and speculation. Again, and different from Aristotle’s active and passive types of intellect, Farabi defined four types of intellect: potential, effective, adoptive, and agentive. It is difficult to distinguish Farabi’s natural sciences from metaphysics and psychology. Thus, his psychology is strongly determinist and yet is connected with a quite different metaphysics than the so-called Western thought system and the mysticism of the East. On the other hand, Farabi influenced Western philosophy, although it is not (commonly) acknowledged. Some of his works were translated into Latin by 11th- and 12th-century European scholars, including Johannes Hispalensis and Gundissalvi. His philosophical psychology influenced Albertus Magnus, a philosopher of the Middle Ages, but more significantly, Farabi influenced Saint Thomas’ theses of God, particularly with his fazilet-al-ulum (virtues of knowledge) (Ülken, 1967/1993).
Scholasticism emerged in the West during the Middle Ages. It was St. Thomas Aquinas, whose conciliatory efforts between revelation (faith) and reason toward one truth, however, that helped to overcome this polarity in Europe. His successful arguments for the acceptance of Aristotle by the Church set the stage for Galileo’s mathematical reasoning, Bacon’s experimentation and inductive reasoning, Bruno’s deep philosophical speculation, Vives’ attacks on the formalism of scholasticism and early pragmatism, and Paracelsus’ critique of demonic possession as the etiology of mental illness and support for the Inquisition.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, mystic philosophies that were based on the inclusion and integration of the diverse and of love were developed by Yunus Emre, Haci Bektasi Veli, and Mevlana Cellaleddin-i Rumi in central Anatolia, and these maintained a strong influence on the Turkish worldview. During the 16th and 18th centuries, while modern philosophy evolved through the ideas of Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Newton, and Locke in the West, intellectual and philosophical thought in Turkey was further withdrawn from those contemporary discussions, as it refocused on the revitalized dualistic debate from the Middle Ages between Islamic philosophies of Gazali (strong spiritualist) and of Ibn Rusd (somewhat Aristotelian) without any synthesis. In terms of social practice, on the other hand, and in contrast to the medieval European practices of condemning people to death and other brutal punishments for witchcraft, mental illness, and possession by the devil, humane healing practices from the Asclepion tradition of the 2nd century ad were carried on with no indication of an interruption in Anatolia over many centuries. These practices were mostly based on verbal suggestion and herbal medicine, but also included methods corresponding to today’s music, art, occupational, and group therapies, and some indigenous techniques like the sound of water, singing, and dance. Secular modern social science detached itself from Islamic religion in early 20th century, and but also from a truly critical and reflective orientation until the recent decades.
In brief, it might be important to bear in mind two conclusions that can be deduced from this section: First, globalization is not a recent, postmodern, and unidirectional (from West to East, or to the rest) phenomenon. Second, no distinct intellectual “Enlightenment” period in the Western sense of the (p. 553) word occurred in Turkey, as the Lumiere did in France or the Aufklarung in Germany. Nor did something similar to the revolution of the Meiji in Japan in 1868 to overcome West versus East dualism take place, to give rise to (indigenous) modernity. Rather, there had been a prolonged monist sense of holism and undifferentiation of the firmly bounded, mostly dualist categories until the confrontation with modern Western thought. Since then, what appears is a strong and deep-seated resistance to self- or other-imposed change in mentality. This illustrates what I call historical immunity. Otherwise, reactive and temporal imitations and/or proactive creative appropriations of novelty have been evident. These observations are expected to make more sense when reviewing modern Turkey’s social transformations in the following section.
From the Ottoman Empire via European Modernity and War to Turkey
The historical paths of psychology as a modern science, discipline, profession, and subject matter in Turkey were viewed as signs of the society’s alternative modernization and democratization (Gülerce, 2006b). If such a narration is to be utilized in turn as reflected feedback for potential transformations of glocal (both global and local at once) psychology, then we may need to better understand certain continuities and discontinuities in the external (to the discipline of psychology) historical context. In this section, I will offer a brief overview of the sociopolitical background for Turkey’s social transformations during the past century of its modernization history.
First of all, Turkey’s modernization is frequently acknowledged as (voluntary) “Westernization,” not “colonization”, but “imperialization.” It is conceptually and historically differentiated from India’s colonization, for example, as well as from the experiences of Iran, China, and Japan, which are not quite synonymous to “Westernization” and “colonization” either. Originally, the term “Westernization” referred to the particular changes that occurred in the Russian Empire in the last two decades of the 17th century, and in the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the 18th century. Those times also correspond to the early stages of the West itself “becoming the West” (Belge, 2002). The West’s self-definition as such, on the other hand, followed the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution a century later. The Ottoman Empire could not effectively cope with the Industrial Revolution and the dissemination of the world capitalist system, hence it declined. However, the modernity (as historical conditions) that emerged in northern Europe following the Enlightenment led to significant changes not only in the military but also in other institutional and economical structures of the multilingual, multicultural, multiethnic, and multireligious Ottoman society. The vast Empire could not stay out of the war, just as the Russian Empire could not, but unlike Iran, China, and Japan which were saved by their distance from to Europe. Modernist reforms seemed necessary in order to survive and to keep the empire intact. In fact, the introduction of the modern notion of the individual via literature, but also psychology as a supplementary field to pedagogy in order to construct the new subject of Western modernity, took place also as part of these reforms since the second half of 18th century.
The gradual and radical transformations of the premodern Empire into the modern Turkish nation-state have been described by Tekeli (2002), for instance, in four phases. Following the first period of ignorance of the emergence of (external) European modernity, and then the gradual awareness of its impact on (internal) societal problems, various changes took place in the second phase that correspond to the reigns of Sultan Selim III (1789–1807) and Sultan Mahmut II (1808–1839). The reforms, other than revisions in the military, included, for example, the institutionalization of individual ownership and rights, the differentiation of public and private spaces, and the replacement of military personnel with bureaucratic public administrators. There are no indications for sound analyses or understandings of European societies, but there was obvious admiration and idealization, especially of France and the 1789 revolution. Many diplomats and students were sent abroad to observe the developments not only in industry, technology, and science, but also in European culture and social life. Modern educational institutions were established and foreign instructors were invited to Istanbul. Although the relations with France changed after France’s colonialist expansion and Bonaparte’s invasion of Malta and Egypt (1798), the appropriation of European modernism as the guiding political orientation through Western technology, knowledge, law, and art remained. It would be misleading, however, to overlook the resistance of the (Islamist) tradition against the modernizing, Westernizing bureaucrats, and to envisage a smooth or harmonious process, a subject that I will return to later.
The third phase corresponds to the ruling periods of Abdulmecit I (1839–1861), Abdulaziz (1861–1876), and Abdulhamit II (1876–1909); the Tanzimat (reordering) led by Mustafa Reşit Paşa, (p. 554) Âli Paşa, and Keçecizade Fuat Paşa; the first and second constitutional eras; the formation of the Ittihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti (the Committee of Union and Progress); and the Young Turk revolution (in 1908) of the modernist/Westernist Ottoman elite. The Young Turk regime lasted until 1918, and it is during this period of turning to the West for social transformations that important literary and psychological books were translated primarily by the members of the Ittihat ve Terakki, young civilian-military Turkish intellectuals. The final phase is the period of the strategic interests (known as the Eastern Question) of the Russian Empire and the European powers like Austria, France, and United Kingdom in the declining Ottoman Empire (described as “the sick man”), the instability in the Balkans, followed by the fragmentation and the collapse of the Empire, and World War I. All laid the ground for the political birth of the Turkish Republic, which was declared in 1923. The Calipship was abolished the next year. Although Islam is not the official religion endorsed by the secular state, still 99.8% of Turkey’s population of 72 million is (mostly Sunni) Muslim and 0.2% is (mostly Christian and Jew) minority today.
Once the legitimate power of the Sultan was replaced by democratic popular preferences, rapid modernization became an open and official national project of the new nation-state. Although Mustafa Kemal’s great leadership aimed at a radical reconstruction of the society as a secular, modern nation in many domains of public life, economic development was given vital priority until World War II. The political revolutions and social and legal reformations included the Tevhid-i Tedrisat (Unity of Education) in 1924, the introduction of the hat (in place of the fez) and the Western calendar in 1925, women’s right to be elected for the parliament, a secular legal system and the Civil Code in 1926, the metric system, the international numeric system and the Roman alphabet (to replace the Arabic script though the language was Ottoman Turkish) in 1928, the surname law (to replace the nicknames and personal titles) in 1934, and so on. As a symbolic token of appreciation of all these reforms, for example, Mustafa Kemal was honored with the title/surname Ataturk, which means “the father of the Turks” by the people. The basic six principles of Kemalism (or Ataturkism, after his death) consisted of republicanism, nationalism, laicism, populism, reformism, and statism in economy.
After Ataturk’s death in 1938, one-party rule (the Republican People’s Party) continued until the 1950 election, when multiparty politics “smoothly” transferred power to the opposition (the Democratic Party). Since then, the number of political parties has multiplied, but the procedural democracy has been interrupted by periods of political instability and intermittently by the military in 1960, 1971, 1980, and in 1997, the last one being known as the “postmodern coup” against the Islamic-oriented government. Military intervention withdrew itself each time and returned political power to the civil (people’s) democratic choices. In the meantime, Turkey joined the UN in 1945, and NATO in 1952. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community, and began accession membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005 while continuing its reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy. On the other, since 1984, Turkey’s military and political/economic attention has been captured predominantly by the terror unleashed by the separatist PKK (the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan in Kurdish, meaning the Kurdistan Worker’s Party), which has claimed over 38,000 lives so far in this multiethnic and multilingual society.
To summarize, the radical reforms that took place in such a short period of time and in rather top-down fashion during the early Republic era constituted drastic breaks in the official discourse and social life of the Ottoman past. The dismissal of the constitutional article defining Islam as the official religion of the state, the removal of religion and Islamic modernization practices from the public sphere, redefining faith and religious practice as an individual and private matter, and the lack of the reinsertion of any cultivating value system to substitute for religious-social community ties, further deepened the split between the Westernized elite and the traditional masses (cf. Mardin, 1992; Mert, 1994).
Although the official intent of the separation of the divine from worldly matters was a precaution against the exploitation of religion for political purposes, ironically, secularism became the state’s instrument for control and supervision of political Islam (e.g., Berkes, 1998; Davison, 2002; Tuncay, 2002; Zurcher 1997). Yet, for both Lewis (1968) and Tunaya (1992) secularism as the Kemalist’s policy of religion was not an anti-Islamist ideology that “de-established” or “reduced” it to the religion of a modern, Western nation-state. They both saw the top-down quality of the Kemalist secularist transformation project as inevitable for the success of modernization and nation-state building, not as a goal to destroy Islam. Hence, popular religion always existed beneath the surface. While on the surface Kemalism substituted modern, Western science for religion as (p. 555) a source of national identitybuilding, it failed to develop an ethos or ideology sufficient to meet the deeper spiritual and cultural needs of the majority of its own people’s (cf. Mardin, 1997). As a result, according to prominent sociologist Mardin (1992, p. 38), the secular Republic faced difficulties in overcoming the “personality and identity crisis of the individuals.” What we infer from this analysis is not only the weak local impact of psychology as a science used in the construction of the governable subject for the liberation of a “new” (“Turkish”, not Ottoman”) society, but also the psychologization and individualization of sociopolitical and historical matters under the strong global impact of (Western) psychology and of (Western) normative modern theories of societal and individual development. However, what might seem as crisis or a deviation to be corrected from that perspective can be understood as adaptive and developmentally appropriate from an alternative perspective of modernity and psychological theorizing (Gülerce, 2006a).
In short, in spite of existing few good works (particularly those examining the increasingly speculative interest in Turkey’s modernization struggle as a predominantly Islamic secular society and the sociopolitical dynamics of its ongoing transformations), there still is a great need for more multidisciplinary, multinational, and multilingual historical studies in this particular topic. Nonetheless, from within this brief political historical framing we now may turn to reviewing psychology’s search for a disciplinary and professional niche in Turkey.
Cultivation of Modern Psychology in Modernizing Turkey
Turkey has been at the cross-roads of important meaning centers, mediating many cultural traditions throughout history, and has been embedded in various great (pre-Hellenistic, pre-Islamic, and Islamic) civilizations and philosophies in its long past, each of which had unique ways of dealing with the subject matter of (modern) psychology.
Nomadic Turks abandoned shamanism and converted to Islam in the 9th century, prior to settling in Asia Minor (Anatolia), which presented them with yet another rich cultural heritage, that of the Hattians and Hittites, both of which predated Greek mythology. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the Tasavvuf (mystic philosophy) tradition of Turkish Sufism was developed by Yunus Emre, Haci Bektasi Veli, Yesevi, and Mevlana Cellaleddin-i Rumi in Central Anatolia and left strong traces on the mind–body question in general and the present day common-sensical constructions of Turkish subjectivity in particular. As its teachings were carried mostly through music, poems, and stories in this oral culture, intellectual and philosophical discussions with Christianity became difficult and eventually led to Islam’s historical divergence from it in the 17th century, in favor of spiritualism over the worldly, solidified objects of the West’s preference. As mentioned earlier, religious, intellectual and philosophical thought in Asia Minor remained split between spiritualist and materialist positions on the dycothomic questions such as the soul vs. mind–body Despite secularization efforts, including changes in the alphabet and language, and the migration/importation of Western science in early years, Islamic philosophies strongly dominated everyday public discourse/practice and, more significantly, private space.
To minutely review the history of psychology in modernTurkey, therefore, requires fluency in old Turkish, Arabic, Ottoman, Persian, Russian, and other European and Asian languages, as well as an interdisciplinary framework from which to understand the historical transformations of issues relevant to psychology. This is not, however, the main reason why even a mainstream or an imported history of psychology is not taught in Turkey (let alone the fact that Turkish psychologists are not interested in historical studies of their modern discipline or of particular psychological constructs). In most cases, Turkish psychologists are blind followers of standard practices and academic requirements that are overidentified with ahistorical, acultural, universalist, and positivist Anglo-American psychology. It may be wise, however for Turkish graduate students who are currently specializing abroad in the (critical) history of psychology to take the topic more seriously, in line with the current historical and critical interest in psychology. Otherwise, of course, there have been various articles on the history of Turkish psychology in general or on particular subfields, most of which have been provided on “external demand” (e.g., Acar and Şahin, 1990; Bolak, 2004; Kağıtçıbaşı, 1994) or “external gaze” (e.g., McKinney, 1960; LeCompte, 1980). These accounts are clearly interested in the development of psychology as a positivistic scientific discipline, and unanimously mark a particular event in 1915 as the “birth” of the discipline in Turkey. These works are not necessarily engaged in the history of the indigenous psychological phenomena nor do they explore the sociocultural constructions of personhood and subjectivity, as already mentioned. A thorough discussion of such (p. 556) issues is not the aim of this present chapter either. Yet it seems important to point at the earlier appearance of “scientific” modern psychology before 1915, and perhaps offer some insights or a meaning context for future research and to shed light on the lack of any indigenous or Islamic psychology in this region.
A rather recent historical account of psychology’s struggle to establish itself as an autonomous and legitimate discipline in Turkey suggested an understanding of the events, institutions, and individual characters as a Lacanian symptom of the societal/global historical conditions for, and transformations of, “Turkish psychology” in particular, and the society’s alternative modernization in general (Gülerce, 2006b). The narrative described five distinct historical periods, namely the Ottoman beginnings and the early European influence until the World War I, the rise of nationalism and the independence movement until the World War II, the interest in sociocultural change and field research until the 1950s, the American influence and the institutionalization process until the 1990s, and globalization, postmodernity, and the popularization of psychology until the present. I will stay close to the same periodization in the current historiographic overview. I also find each period highly relevant in accentuating certain aspects of the journey of psychology in Turkey, mirroring the periods of transfer and translation, scientification and institutionalization, expansion and education, localization and (re)production of knowledge, and professional practice, status and organization, of psychology. I will use these subheadings instead for the following discussion of connecting the past with the present of psychology in Turkey.
Transfer and Translation
From its early days to the present, transfer and translation from multiple Western sources has dominated knowledge reproduction in modern psychology in Turkey. During the second half of the 19th century, many Turkish scholars were sent to Europe for advanced studies as part of the systematic modernization efforts of the Ottoman Empire mentioned earlier. Important literary works were translated into the Ottoman language to describe the modern individual and modern private and public life. Also quite a few foreign (i.e., American, Austrian, British, French, German, and Italian) schools, institutions of higher education, and cultural centers were established, where not only was the medium of education a foreign language, but also Western lifestyle, values, and etiquette. For example, Robert College (a higher-education division of which became Boğaziçi University in 1971) was founded in 1863 by two American philanthropists. Although Islamic science education has been carried out in medreses until the Tevhid-i Tedrisat in 1924, the first university that appropriated European universities, Dar-ül Fünun-i Osmani (now Istanbul University), was established in 1868. It is here that the known first public lectures on psychology, namely Emcaz u Ekalim (Temperament and Climate) were given by Aziz Efendi in the evenings during the month of Ramadan of the following year. Yet, despite the initial plan to include a psychology course (Ilm-i ahval-i nefs: the science of the states of the will) in the Darülfünun-i Osmani Nizamname (curriculum), it was not actualized for another 40 years (Ergin, 1977). On the other hand, Robert College, which provided an “American-style” education and even had Allport as visiting scholar2 in 1918, did not have a psychology course or department until 1975.
The first psychology book that used the term psikoloji was Psikoloji, yahut Ilm-i Ahval-i Ruh (Psychology, or the Science of the States of the Soul ) and was written in 1872, by Hoca Tahsin, known also as Ahmet Nebil (1812–1880) in the Ottoman language. Hoca Tahsin was a modernist, promoting psychology as a Westernization tool while he was strongly against Islamic interpretations of the soul. He kept the Western term psychology itself and imported its method, but coupled it with the old concept of “the soul.” Although there was no equivalent word in Turkish for psychology, the choice of a Turkish term for the discipline had been made quite differently, for example, from the Chinese case in similar situation, in which a deliberate effort was made toward indigenization when “Yan chose three Chinese characters not previously conjoined—xin-lingxue meaning, literally, ‘heart-spirit study’ (Blowers, 2006, p. 96)” in his translation of the term and concept of psychology to the Chinese context. The same attitude can be seen in Yusuf Kemal’s book Gayet-ul Beyan fi Hakikat-ul Insan yahut Ilm-i Ahval-i Ruh (Definitive Explanation of the True Essence of Human Kind, or the Science of the States of the Soul ), which came out in 1876.
In the meantime, Wundt published Principles of Physiological Psychology in 1874. While he was establishing his psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig in 1879, Ottoman intelligentsia were discussing psychological matters within the philosophical and political frameworks and the emancipation of psychology from philosophy, just as their (p. 557) counterparts in the West, although their understanding of it was an interpretive discipline, much closer to Taine and Ribot’s “new psychology,” which lay between introspection and reductionistic psychophysiology, and Janet’s “liberal philosophy” or Charcot’s “medical psychology” in France. However, there is no known Turkish delegate who participated in the First International Congress of Psychology that Charcot organized in Paris in 1889.
The three names that are known to have been actively transferring and advocating psychology as a new intellectual field from several perspectives in the late Ottoman period are Ahmet Mithat (1844–1912), Baha Tevfik (1881–1916), and Mustafa Satı (1880–1968), also known as Sati-El-Husri. Ahmet Mithat produced the first translated psychology book, Çocuk: Meleket-i Uzviye ve Ruhiyesi (The Child: Capacities of the Body and the Soul) by G. Compayre, in 1902. He also wrote Nevm ve Halat-ı Nevm (Sleep and Sleep States) and explored various meanings of the soul and consciousness.
Baha Tevfik, who was a socialist activist, wrote the first Turkish textbook on psychology, entitled Ilm-i Ahval-i Ruh’un Mukaddimesi (Introduction to the Science of the States of the Soul) around 1911. The book consisted of sections on scientific taxonomy, the place and significance of philosophy, the definition and subject matter of psychology, consciousness, the difference of psychology from physiology, determinism, method in psychology, experience, istintaç (deduction), branches of psychology, temayulat ve ihtirasat (tendencies and ambitions), iradat ve irade-i cuziyye (will-power and free-will), ruh-i insan (the soul of the human-being), umumiyet-i ruh (generalizability/universality of the soul), aesthetics, motion and the philosophy of beauty, fikret (thought), memory, arzu ve heves (desire and motivation), itikad (belief), tasavvur (imagination), and hiss-u idrak (the sense of perception). Tevfik passionately worked toward establishing an ethics that is based on psychological science and was a strong materialist, working against spiritualists. His monograph Felsefe-i Ferd (Philosophy of the Individual) was published in 1915.
Tevfik also wrote Teceddüt-i Ilmi ve Edebi, and made some translations, such as Feminizm (Feminism) from Odette Lacquerre, Tarih-i Felsefe (Historical Philosophy) from Alfred Fouillee, Madde ve kuvvet (Material and Force) from Ludwig Büchner, and together with Ahmed Nebil and Memduh Süleyman, Niçe Hayatı ve Felsefesi (Nietzche: His Life and Philosophy) from Andrea Lichtenberger. He was the senior editor of a journal called Zeka (Intelligence), which was established in 1912.
Mustafa Satı is better known for his translations from Binet, Ribot, and James, but also for his classical handbooks on pedagogy and ethnography, and articles in the journal Mektep (School ). Abdullah Cevdet Karlıdağ (1869–1931), one of the founders of the Ittihat ve Terakki, hence a strong advocate of Western civilization and modernity as mentioned above, was another prolific writer. He translated of over 50 books, including three by Gustav Le Bonn (e.g., Psychologie des Foules, which was published in Egypt under the title of Ruh-ül Akvam [The Soul of the Masses]) and one by L. Büchner. His colleague, Hüseyin Cahit, who was fluent in French, English, and Italian, and other contemporaries like Mustafa Hayrullah Diker, Ali Haydar, Avni Basman, and Mustafa Şekip Tunç, translated a considerable number of important psychology books of the time, including works by H. Bergson, A. Binet, E. Boutroux, E. Clarapède, J. Dewey, H. Ebbinghaus, S. Freud, H. Hoffding, W. James, and T. Ribot.
The fact that most published psychology books were translations rather than original authorship is not limited to that period. Over its disciplinary history of a century, the total number of translated textbooks that appeared in the Turkish language is less than a hundred, edited books are less than ten. The original authorship books are all similar, and are as original as knowledge transfer. On the other hand, many popular Western psychology books have been translated in increasing numbers by nonacademics, particularly over the last two decades. Even academics, particularly those educated in Anglo-American schools and who work at English-language universities, either lack, or do not have a good command of the Turkish vocabulary for psychological subject matters. The translation of psychological concepts and terms has always been a serious challenge that usually has been avoided. It was a challenge that was taken seriously in late 1970s, however, by faculty members of the psychology department of Hacettepe University,3 in order to provide Turkish psychologists with technical terms that are equally sensitive to both the Turkish language/culture and to their conceptual meaning connotations. This same group also produced a psychology glossary, using the translation of a selected textbook, A Brief Introduction to Psychology (Morgan, C. T, 1974), after prolonged group discussions. In spite of its limitations for contemporary psychology, the book is in its 18th edition, and is being used as the primary course material by all students of psychological sciences in Turkey.
Notwithstanding, the field in general suffers additionally from terminological and conceptual (p. 558) confusion due to the imprecise and interchangeable use of jargon and the limited translations of psychological terms or works without a sound understanding of the background concepts, theories, and crucial issues. The selection criteria vary between the publishers, and this further complicates the picture, mirroring a similar terminological/conceptual confusion among the original works themselves, which are derived from a mixture of subfields, representing different paradigms, sectors, and audiences psychology. These works frequently enter translation and publication in Turkey without critical reflection. The problem has become even worse with the enormous postmodern/global expansion of the psy-complex via mass media channels like TV, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, etc. (Gülerce, 2008).
Scientification and Institutionalization
It is no coincidence that early psychology books were translated mostly from French and English. However, during the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, as the relations with United Kingdom and France were going downhill, the Ottomans were developing closer relations with Germany. Germany became the admired (new) West also for its resistance against those colonialist powers. Germany shortly developed imperialist interests in Ottoman resources as well. Yet, not only were German engineers and technology were exported for the construction of the Istanbul-Izmit-Ankara railroad in 1888, and the Ankara-Baghdad and Ankara-Mecca railroad projects, but German faculty also were invited to come and teach in Istanbul by the Young Turks, as part of their negotiations. The Young Turks believed in the necessity of modernization in education as a prerequisite for the modernization of the society, hence they highly valued pedagogy, although they gave a secondary, complementary place to the “young” discipline of psychology. Although they closely supervised and approved the list, the (14 + 5) names were carefully selected and suggested by Professor Dr. Franz Schmidt (privy counselor of education) to provide German guidance in building up the Turkish educational system. Georg Anschütz (1886–1953), who was to establish the first psychology laboratory under the philosophy department in Dar-ül Fünun, was among the first group of 14 scholars who came to Istanbul in 1915.
Anschütz, although his name unknown to many psychologists, was either acknowledged as the “founder” of psychology in Turkey or devalued more recently, particularly for his later involvement in Nazi administration in Germany. He remains a man of mystery, the subject of various speculations and even conspiracies. Nevertheless, he seems to have had a broad background, wide interests, and affiliations with important figures at the time, particularly considering his early career prior to coming to Istanbul at the age of 29.4 For instance, he wrote his dissertation with Theodor Lipps, and later, a book on his conceptualization of the human mind entitled Theodor Lipps’ Neuere Urteilslehr (Theodor Lipps’ Recent Tenet of Urteil [judgement/logic]). He studied philosophy, psychology, and education in Leipzig and Munich, and worked in Würzburg and Berlin. In 1909, he also worked 1 full year with Alfred Binet in Paris in his famous laboratory, and translated Binet’s book Les idees modernes sur les enfants under the German title Die neuen Gedanken über das Schulkin (New ideas about the School Child) together with W.J. Ruttmann (the work appeared in 1927). He worked on diagnostic testing in psychiatry in Munich until 1912, with Wundt and Sranger. He wrote three other books during this period: Spekulative, exakte und angewandte Psychologie: Eine Untersuchung über die Prinzipien d. psychol. Erkenntnis (Speculative, Basic and Applied Science: An Investigation on the Principles of Psychological Knowledge; 1912); Über die Erforschung der Denkvorgänge (About Research on Thought Processes; 1913), and Die Intelligenz (Intelligence; 1913). From 1913 on, Anschütz worked at the experimental pedagogy laboratory established by Ernst Meumann at the University of Hamburg in 1911. By the time he was appointed to help build the Turkish education system, he was the director there already for several months after Meumann’s death.
This brief biography, let alone his later works in psychology, should shield him from unjust attributions about the depth and breadth of his approach; he was clearly more than a “technician,” despite bringing with him technology (including the Binet-Simon intelligence test) to establish an experimental psychology laboratory. However, it is important to take into account the wartime conditions that he faced, including the “readiness” of the local intellectual/political context to provide a cultivating environment. As with the other 13 German scholars, for example, he was contracted to establishan Institute; he received an assistant and interpreter for the first year, and was expected to learn/teach in Turkish the next year. Anschütz was not among the six who actualized this requirement. As with the others, he had few students, and not a single audience for many months, because of wartime conditions. What he left in Turkey is one article that he wrote before he returned Germany, in defense of the experimental (p. 559) methodology for psychology, entitled “İnsanların Ahval-i Ruhiyeleri Arasındaki Ferdi Farklar Hakkında Tetkikler” (“A Study of Individual Differences Between People’s Psychological States”) (Anschütz, 1916). At the end of the war, on November 2, 1918, the bilateral contract with German professors as well as teachers was annulled. On November 22, they were expelled, together with other Germans domiciled in Turkey. Although psychology remained a chair for a long time, during the war years the first sociology department was established by Ziya Gökalp (1876–1924) in the same (Istanbul) university.
Ziya Gökalp (originally Mehmet Ziya) was a very active political figure who is known for his strong nationalism, Turkism, and then Turanism. After the Second Meşrutiyet, he joined the Ittihat ve Terakki as Diyarbakır’s (the key region of connection between the East and West) representative, and published the newspaper Peyman. He was elected to the executive council of Ittihat ve Terakki in Selanik in 1910, and to the Meclis-i Mebusan (the governor’s assembly) in 1912. He moved to Istanbul and established the journal Genç Kalemler (The Young Pens) there. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he was accused of Armenian genocide by the occupation forces. He was prosecuted and was exiled to Malta in 1919 by the British. He wrote Malta Mektupları (Malta Letters) during his 2 years in exile. He then returned to Diyarbakır, and was selected to the second Grand National Assembly by Mustafa Kemal in 1923. His major works included Türkçülüğün Esasları (Fundamentals of Turkism; (1923), Doğru Yol (The True Path; 1923), Kızıl Elma (The Red Apple; 1928), Türkleşmek, Muasırlaşmak, Islamlaşmak (Turkification, Modernization, Islamization; 1929), Türk Medeniyet Tarihi (History of Turkish Civilization; 1926), Altın Işık (The Golden Light; 1927), and Yeni Hayat (The New Life). Most of these were published after his death and aimed to synthesize Turkish culture, Islamic morality, and positivism as the source of Western technological and scientific development; his work continues to have significant impact on Turkish political thought and life.
During his teaching in Dar-ül Fünun until his exile, Gökalp gathered important figures in the faculty of literature and founded the Institute of Sociocultural Studies. The team applied an interdisciplinary approach to sociocultural phenomena and included Ahmet Emin Yalman (statistics), Köprülüzade Fuat (history of Turkish literature), Kazım Şinasi (historical method), Ismail Hakkı Baltacıoğlu (pedagogy), and Mehmet Emin (history of philosophy). Their main (political) interest was in seeking social scientific solutions to many socioeconomic problems that emerged with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. German philosopher (of critical ontology) Günther Jacoby of Greifswald University also taught in Istanbul University between 1915 and 1918. He contributed to Gökalp’s team with his views on pragmatism, as well as on the Principles of Psychology. Jacoby had exchanged letters with William James on pragmatism and was invited to Harvard in 1910. After James’ death the same year, Jacoby was a visiting scholar to the University of Illinois, then visited Tokyo and North Africa. He fought against France during the World War I (and was wounded) prior to his appointment in Istanbul by the German ministry of culture. We know that he worked on Herder’s philosophy while in Istanbul, and on his “life work,” an ontology of reality. He also fought in Russia and was active in the Nazi movement, although he was not able to find a teaching position until 1945 because his grandparents were Jews.
Gökalp hired Mustafa Sekip Tunç, after Jacoby and Anschütz, in 1919. Tunç had studied psychology in the J. J. Rousseau Institute in Geneva. He, together with Emin and Baltacıoğlu, published the journal Dergah (Dervish Convent) between 1905 and 1918. They were very much influenced by the ideas of Emile Boutroux, William James, and especially of Henri Bergson, and were against Gökalp’s positivism and evolutionism. As a disciple of Emile Durkheim, Gökalp minimized the significance of the individual, wasagainst liberalism, and idealized the notion of solidarity between the professional groups versus the classless society of Marxism. Tunç was an opponent of Gokalp’s particular view of the relationship between the individual and society that privileged sociology as the only method of social knowledge (Ulken, 1966). During the Turkish War of Independence, Tunç and the Dergah group drew their sociopolitical ideas mostly from Bergson’s notion of élan vital to explain Turkish resistance to invasion by European states.
Despite all the efforts of the Young Turks, no radical transformation was achieved in education. Indeed, it became one of the primary reform projects of the Mustafa Kemal government, which used several Western consultants. For instance, in 1924, John Dewey was invited to give an evaluation. His report took quite a liberal approach to the educational system and included advice to establish a psychology institute (Dewey, 1939). The following year, Kühne, a German pedagogue, prepared a report on technical and professional education. Crucial change (p. 560) followed an evaluation report on Dar-ül Fünun(-i Osmani) that was provided by a Swiss scholar, Albert Malche from the University of Guelph, in 1933.
As this report also spelled out, psychology was thought of as a theological subject again at Dar-ül Fünun at that time. The Ankara government was already unhappy about the political resistance of Dar-ül Fünun intellectuals. Following this report, University Reform took place and Dar-ül Fünun became Istanbul University. During this transformation, most faculty were fired, and their positions were filled with Turkish scholars returning from studies abroad and by German refugees who came to Turkey following the rise of the Nazis. Istanbul University gained a reputation as the largest German university outside Berlin. Among the faculty, for example, was Eric Aurbach, who taught for 11 years there and wrote his well-known Mimesis while in Istanbul.
The German psychologist in this group was Wilhelm Peters (1880–1963), from Jena University. He established the first Experimental Psychology Institute, with a laboratory and a library, in 1937. He also helped with the establishment of the first psychological association and psychology journal (The Journal of Experimental Psychology) in Turkey (Toğrol, 1983). The latter was established in 1940 (Bilgin, 1991). Two other psychologists, Walter Miles from Yale University and Mümtaz Turhan, who completed his Ph.D. in the Gestalt tradition in Wertheimer’s school in Frankfurt, were other figures of the time who taught psychology of perception. With these developments, psychology received recognition as a new scientific endeavor, although it was not established as an independent department in Istanbul University until 1981.
After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, on the other hand, the Teacher Training Institute was established in the capital, Ankara. The Institute offered courses on developmental psychology, educational psychology, and testing and measurement, as teachers were seen as nation-building agents in the radical modernization project. One bright student who received a state scholarship to study abroad as part of the teacher training project was internationally well-known Turkish psychologist Muzaffer Sherif. He went to Harvard University after receiving his M.A. from Istanbul University in 1929. However, he took more political science and sociology courses than psychology while in America. For example, he became interested in unemployment during the period of the Great Depression. Before returning to Turkey to teach at the Ankara Gazi Institute, he visited the University of Berlin in 1932 and participated in Kohler’s Gestalt psychology seminars. There, he became interested in the use of slogans by Hitler’s regime and consequently chose the research question for his doctoral thesis: “How do slogans help with attitude change and the rise of social norms?,” although his thesis was more conservatively titled “A Study of Some Social Factors in Perception.” After a short teaching experience in Turkey, he returned to the United States, initially to Harvard and then to Columbia University, where he completed his Ph.D. as a Rockefeller Fellow in 1935. Sherif published his thesis as the well-known book, The Psychology of Social Norms, in 1936. After studying in Paris, Sherif took the first psychology chair position in the newly formed faculty of languages, history and geography at Ankara University. Yet, the recognition of psychology as an academic subject came two decades later.
Expansion and Education
In the 1950s, Turkish government, and hence psychology, were mostly in alliance with American research and technology. The fear of communism and the fantasy of the USA as powerful protector, and favoring it against the USSRdominated the political climate. Following Turkey’s participation in the Korean War and its accession to NATO, American psychologists came to teach at the Ankara Gazi Institute. Turkish students were selected on the basis of intelligence test scores for scholarships to study in the United States (Vassaf, 1987). Early European influences and psychology books were replaced with translations of American textbooks. During this period, priority was given to the organization in higher education (Bilgin, 1983) and to the training of high school teachers of psychology, sociology, and philosophy (Başaran & Şahin, 1990). The staff was supported by some faculty from American universities and by Fulbright funds (McKinney, 1960).
In 1964, the Hacettepe University psychology department was established in Ankara as a model, and rapidly grew, including in its ranks 12 Turkish faculty members who had Ph.D.’s either from the United States or England (LeCompte, 1980) to educate a new generation of psychologists in Turkey. That was followed by other undergraduate programs that were established in the Middle East Technical University in Ankara in 1968, in the Bogazici University, in Istanbul in 1975 (in both of which the medium of teaching remains English), and in the Ege University in Izmir in 1976. With the inclusion of new universities and psychology departments, and the increasing number (p. 561) of U.S.- educated psychologists in them, American influence was widespread and has predominated psychology in Turkey ever since.
By the late 1980s there were only six psychology departments, accommodating approximately 300 new students every year. At present, there are 19 psychology (21 psychological counseling and guidance and one social work) departments with over 1,200 incoming students each year. With few exceptions, all are located in three major cities (Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir) that account for almost one-third of population. At present Turkey has 80 (165) universities all together, in 52 (71) cities; 53 (104) of them are state universities and 27 (61) are private schools or foundations.5 Still, only approximately one-third of high school graduates can be placed full-time, and about half of them are placed in distant education. The procedure is regulated by the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) primarily on the basis of the students’ preferences and the scores obtained on the entrance exam, as well as the centralized exam itself. Psychology’s popularity among the students, who are mostly female, shows a tendency to increase, although psychology is approximately 20% of the students’ first choice who are enrolled in a psychology program. That cannot be said for their entrance, despite the scholarships that are given by private universities to students with high scores who prefer the state universities over the private universities. Whereas the interest of the private universities in offering psychology program is limited, being restricted to the needs and values of the market economy, state universities lack sufficient staff and resources. This is largely due to constant transfers to and recruitments by private universities, which provide significantly higher salaries and benefits, and better working and housing conditions. The state universities also lack sufficient research funds, financial autonomy, and egalitarian policies for knowledge production.
The Turkish Higher Education Council (YÖK), founded in 1982, centrally regulates the core academic curricula, although the departments and the faculty have flexibility in terms of electives and the content of their courses. The 4-year undergraduate programs are quite rigorous in their core general and elective area courses, which are largely based on a typical American model. Graduate student candidates also are expected to take a standardized screening test and an English proficiency test or TOEFL if the medium of instruction is English (as is the case in most programs), prior to other selection tests and personal interviews that are given by the departments themselves. The YÖK awards and recognizes academic degrees only in five specialties of psychology: developmental, experimental, applied (clinical, organizational and school), social psychology, and psychometrics. Master’s programs are offered by only one-third of the psychology departments, and typically have quotas of between 5 and 10 students each year, which are not filled evenly among the programs. The number of doctoral programs offered changes from year to year or from one department to the other, but is low, with even fewer students than in master’s-level programs. Also, significant number of undergraduate and graduate students study abroad, predominantly in North America and Europe, and not all of them return to practice in Turkey. About one-third of the students holding a graduate degree work in an academic setting. There is no formal requirement, but there is a tremendous informal need and silent demand for continuing education and in-service training that can hardly be met by the few workshops organized every year by the Turkish Psychological Association or by private practitioners without any criteria of evaluation.
Localization and (Re)production of Knowledge
In spite of the hegemonic influence of Western scientism and universalism on mainstream Turkish psychology and reproductions of standard knowledge practices, several individual psychologists have become exceptions to this collective case with their particular contributions to psychology. As mentioned earlier, indigenization, in the sense of a struggle to reclaim the local identity against the intellectual hegemony of the West (Sinha, 1997) has not been a common attitude of psychology in Turkey, and there is no identifiable Turkish psychology. However, there has been a high sensitivity and strong interest in the social relevance, contextualization, and localization of knowledge via field research, particularly—and expectedly so—in social psychology, following the legacy of two important Turkish psychologists, Mümtaz Turhan and Muzaffer Sherif. These researchers made critical contributions against the racist and nationalist ideology that reached its peak in the 1940s and advocated for socially relevant sociocultural field research in those years. Although Turkey managed to stay out of World War II, the ideologies of German fascism, Anglo-Saxon democracy, and Marxism were in strong competition among the Turkish intelligentsia of those years.
Mümtaz Turhan (1908–1969) of Istanbul University, who studied with Sir Frederic Bartlett between 1940 and 1946 in Cambridge University, (p. 562) where he obtained a second Ph.D., made a significant shift in his orientation and research interests under the influence of his social psychology education there. He conducted cultural anthropological field research in the villages of Erzurum, observing and interviewing the villagers, whose ancestors had migrated from the Caucasus 150 years earlier. He explained the resistance to culture mixing during “cultural contact” using psychological factors. He strongly defended the importance of studying sociocultural change in Turkey and wrote three major books on the subject: Kültür Değişmeleri (Cultural Changes) in 1951, Maarifimizin Ana Davaları (The Main Problematics of Our Education) in 1954, and Garplılaşmanın neresindeyiz? (Where Are We in Westernization? ) in 1961. In contrast to Gökalp, he argued for a conceptual distinction between culture and civilization. He believed that it was wrong to view the West as if it represented one nation and one homogenous culture. For him, Western technology could cross national borders, but it was much more difficult for its cultures to travel in the same way. He also provided sociopolitical insights for Turkey’s underdevelopment and strategies against the dominant ideological discourse. He suggested that a bureaucratic mentality could explain Turkey’s resistance to Westernization since Tanzimat.
During his residence in Ankara from 1937 to 1944, Sherif worked together with other leading figures in social sciences there. These include the sociologists Behice Boran and Niyazi and Mediha Berkes, the ethnologist W. Eberhart, the folklorist Pertev Naili Boratav, the anthropologist Muzaffer Senyurek, and the philosopher Nusret Hizir. All of them were politically minded and influenced by Marxist ideas, although not openly acknowledged. This group also differentiated its structural/functionalist approach from and against the dominant “humanistic knowledge” orientation in Istanbul University. They criticized the scholastic transfer of European social/philosophical knowledge of the 19th century, and advocated empirical production of scientific knowledge, based on analyses and the formulation of novel relations (Tekeli, 2000).
Sherif (whose contemporary Turkish name was Muzaffer Serif Basoglu) published his political interest in the anti-fascist social movement in journals entitled Adimlar (The Steps) and Yurt ve Dunya (The Nation and the World), and in his book, Degisen Dunya (The Changing World) (Basoglu, 1945). He also translated some books. He defended the view that the production of local knowledge should come prior to the transfer of knowledge from elsewhere, and made suggestions for higher education in this regard. He himself studied the impact of technology on rural peasants’ perception and judgment in five villages. In his third book, published in 1943, Irk Psikolojisi (Race Psychology), Sherif boldly argued against any race being superior to others. His critiques of Turkish state policies of the time led to his prosecution by a military court. Pressure by the Harvard Alumni Association and the Allies’ advantageous position toward the end of the war helped to secure his release after a month and a half in solitary confinement. He was then awarded a Fellowship by the U.S. State Department to work with Hadley Cantril at Princeton University. Thereafter, his work and achievements in the United States, which were clearly no longer visibly political, and his influence on experimental social psychology, his work with groups and conflict resolution, and other topics are better known to the international reader (e.g., Sherif, 1935, Sherif & Sherif, 1953, 1969, Sherif et al., 1955, 1961).
The inclination toward local knowledge and socially interested psychology were lost until the 1960s, during the American alliance period. Following a bilateral agreement with Germany in 1961, Turkey underwent significant international and domestic migration. Large numbers of village workers went first to West Germany and then to other European countries. There was also internal migration to the metropolitan regions of the country. While one of Sherif’s psychology students, Başaran (1969), carried out research in rural villages on various attitudes and social change, another in sociology helped to establish a new era in experimental social science in Turkey. Inspired by Sherif’s methodology, Kıray (1964) studied urban transformation through industrial development. The State Planning Organization and the Turkish Social Science Association were established, and both supported empirical research on rural and urban transformation.
Following this trend, noteworthy research in social psychology studied the psychological aspects of social change among high school students (Kağıtçıbaşı, 1973), and in a village (Kandiyoti, 1974), on social norms involving the family (LeCompte & LeCompte, 1973) in the 1970s; and the changing family structure, values, attitudes, gender roles, socialization (Kağıtçıbaşı, 1984; Imamoglu, 1998) in response to both internal (urban) and external (Germany) (im)migration (Gitmez, 1983) in the 1980s. Cross-cultural psychology provided, and dominated, the field with a major paradigm and its overused theme of individualism–collectivism even in critique (e.g., Göregenli, 1997; Kağıtçıbaşı, 1997). Turkish psychologists (p. 563) demonstrated the possibilities for balanced (Imamoglu, 1987), transformational (Gülerce, 1990), integrative (Fişek, 1991), and compatibility (Kağıtçıbaşı, 1996) models of indigenous (Turkish) and universalistic (American) conceptualizations in the areas of family and human development, and organizations (e.g., Aycan, 2001). Over the last decade, intervention research with the less privileged groups and the early enrichment, capacity building, and empowerment of women’s programs (e.g., Bolak-Boratav, 2002; Bekman, 1998; Güvenç, 2000; Kağıtçıbaşı, 2002)—and hence the modernist mission of liberation under the UN Human Development Program—gained more importance, whereas Gülerce (2009) addressed various critical issues in this framework and its practices. Today, other academic research in Turkey takes place in most areas of psychology from neuropsychology (e.g., Karakaş, 2002) to traffic psychology (e.g., Yasak, 2001), a more inclusive citation for which can be found in earlier reviews for certain periods and subfields (e.g., Acar & Şahin; 1990; Bilgin, 1988; Bolak, 2004).
There are few publication outlets for psychologists in Turkey. Also, the centrally regulated (by the YÖK) academic requirements to publish in “international” journals included in well recognized citation indexes such as the Social Citation Index further encourage Turkish psychologists to adopt, adapt, and reproduce Western research questions, methods, and models. In 1991, the Psikoloji Dergisi became the Turk Psikoloji Dergisi (Turkish Psychology Journal; TPA). In 1994, it was included in the Social Science Citation Index, which is a strong criterion of judgment for the quality of publications in academic recruitments and promotions. The peer-reviewed quarterly journal accepts strictly empirical research articles in the standard mainstream format. An analysis of the contents not only of the journal throughout its 30 years but of the master’s and Ph.D. theses written in local universities shows no signs of originality, although considerable scientific rigor is apparent in most cases. The TPA also publishes the Turk Psikoloji Yazıları (Turkish Psychological Review) for translated review articles without any meta-analyses and the Turk Psikoloji Bülteni (Turkish Psychological Bulletin) for translations from various international journals that further teach young psychologists how to do psychology.
Professional Practice, Status, and Organization
In terms of the early history of psychological practice, it is well documented that healing practices from the Asclepion tradition of the 2nd century ad were carried on in Anatolia over many centuries. Interestingly, there is no indication of any interruption whatsoever of these humane practices even during the medieval period, when practices of condemning people to death and other brutal punishments for witchcraft, mental illness, and possession by the devil were observed in Europe. Those Anatolian psychological practices included various indigenous methods that correspond to the music, art, occupational, and group therapies of today.
During the Selcjuk (1040–1157) and Ottoman (1299–1923) Empires, a professional differentiation in health care was observed among the two types of practitioners: the otaci described the practitioner who prescribed herbal medicine and massage therapy, and the efsuncu employed traditional healing technique, which is nothing but verbal suggestion, a “talking cure” administered at the tekke (an Arabic term referring to the buildings, like other community houses or dergah and asitane, where Sufis gathered despite the fact that the teachings of Sufism were tutored individually). A well-known indigenous technique called the “key method,” for instance, has been employed successfully in so-called hysterical stuttering cases (Unver, 1973).
In the early 20th century, secular modern social science and medicine were detached not only from Islamic/Sufi philosophies and traditional practices, but also from a truly critical and reflective orientation. During the Ottoman modernization efforts and the importation of psychological practices, Mustafa Sati appears to be the first person to employ aptitude tests. He also wrote in the journal Mektep (The School ) on topics such as students’ abilities, intelligence, and educational psychology. The Stanford-Binet intelligence test was translated into Turkish in 1915 (Antel, 1939; Tan, 1972). While in teaching in Turkey, Sherif also directed theses on the standardization of Terman-Merril Army Beta tests and established a psychometrics laboratory. In brief, from psychophysics to intelligence and personality, all types of testing and measurement, seen as the tangible and “scientific” tools of the applied discipline, have been idealized and made an important part of psychology’s professional identity in this technology-dependent society. Various psychology tests such as Wechsler, Raven’s Progressive Matrices, Porteus, Cattell, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Rorschach, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and the like also made early entries into Turkish psychology. Not only were many of these instruments used without adaptation and standardization for many years, but they were misused in the hand of unqualified “psychologists” (p. 564) in the education and mental health systems (Vassaf, 1982). A majority of the 200 psychological tests in active use are verbatim translations, without adaptations, and only approximately one-fourth of them are original constructions by Turkish psychologists (cf., Oner, 1994). A pioneer clinical psychologist, Işık Savaşır, of Hacettepe University, has warned many practitioners of this issue and has meticulously standardized the most popular tests, such as the MMPI (Savaşır, 1981) and the WISC-R (Savaşır & Şahin, 1987). She did not only train a good number of highly skilled clinical psychologists to be more sensitive to professional ethics and local culture, but also cha(lla)nged many psychiatrists’ ignorance of, and prejudices against, clinical psychology.
Until the 1990s, public perceptions of mental health and attitudes toward modern practices such as psychological counseling and psychotherapy indicated large incongruencies with contemporary Western notions and conventions (cf. Gülerce, 1991). Except for a small, wealthy, educated, Westernized, urbanized, and modern/alienated proportion of the population, traditional support systems like family, relatives, and friends are still preferred over professional help provided by psychologists. Although the number of private practitioners drastically increased in major cities since the 1990s, in general, their services are far from matching Western(ized) standards in terms of both quantity and quality. Needless to say perhaps, psychological practice has not entered the health and education systems with preventive community approaches and structural/systemic interventions. Psychologists rely on the traditional modality of individual treatments of intrinsic pathology. Although there has been a gradually growing interest in family therapy over the last decades, the medical model and atomistic modernist philosophy are still well preserved in those practices.
A majority of Turkish psychologists hold a B.A. degree, which is sufficient for employment as psychologist. This is despite informal academic advice and the social pressure within the professional community for at least an M.A. degree in some area of specialization in psychology to be considered an “expert.” By the 1990s, 85% of employed psychologists were women, and 46% were working in medical settings, 16% in academia, 15% in preschool child services, 8% in counseling and guidance services in schools, 8% with special groups, 6% in private practice, and 1% in organizations (Bilgin, 1991). Feminization of the field is still considerably high, but salaries and status are low. The field still attracts mostly the privileged. Considerable number of psychology graduates work in other service sectors with better salaries or are unemployed housewives, educated mothers who ironically hire caretakers for their own children. Although, there is more diversity in jobs for psychology graduates at present, with the inclusion of new sectors in the business settings, public relations, human resources departments, and various positions offered by the state in the ministries of justice, social security, and interior, the majority work in the health system. On the other hand, most hospital settings, state or private, are still orthodox in their male- and psychiatry-dominated hierarchical models, despite some change in recent years. Psychologists are treated as test-administering technicians or auxiliary personnel at best.
Psychology is frequently confused with psychiatry and psychological counseling by the lay person. It almost exclusively means clinical psychology even to the most educated, and that is popularly associated with psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, also in their romanticized forms. In terms of the psychologist’s job definition within the professional community, however, testing has been its defining role since its very early days.
There is no law to regulate the practice or profession of psychology in Turkey. The Turkish Psychology Association was established in Istanbul as early as 1956, but has been inactive in organizing psychologists in Turkey for many years. Having been frustrated with the inefficiency of this association, a group of idealistic and energetic psychologists (among whom developmental psychologist Nail Şahin deserves special recognition for his leading efforts) formed the Psikologlar Derneği (Psychologists’ Association) as a separate professional body in Ankara, in 1976. They also have published the Psikoloji Dergisi (Psychology Journal) somewhat regularly since 1978. The journal still serves as the major outlet for the academic community. The first national congress of psychology was held in 1981, and it continues to meet biannually under the organizational support of some major university’s psychology department. Additional associations, conferences, and symposia in various specialization areas began to appear in the 1990s.
The two associations merged in 1991 under title of the Turk Psikologlar Dernegi (Turkish Psychological Association; TPA), which is based in Ankara with several branches in major cities. The TPA became a member of the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA0 in 1991, and of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) in 1992. Currently, the TPA has approximately (p. 565) 1,800 members. A significant part of its membership consists of academics. The remainder work in applied settings, such as hospitals, schools, guidance and research centers, business firms, private clinics, counseling centers, social research centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the major cities. Including the estimated number of practicing psychologists who are not members of TPA, the ratio of practicing psychologists to population (of 72 million) is much lower than that of industrialized countries (cf. Sexton & Hogan, 1992). Thus the profession is not a significant presence in Turkey outside academia, and as such lacks a strong voice as a societal actor in civil society.
Although the state’s recognition of psychology as a profession has been slow, even the modernized/Westernized sector of the public did not take it seriously for a long time either. The lack of any regulation other than one’s good training and internalized ethical values, and hence the wide range of quality in practice, hindered the establishment of a respectable image of the profession. As well, since the 1980s, beginning with the privatization and plurality of mass media channels and postmodern technologies of communication, popular culture has been saturated with all types of psychological discourse and vulgar information. Many self-help books, pop psychology magazine articles, and the psy-complex of Western societies (Rose, 1985) have been rapidly translated. The prolonged detachment of academics and professionals from real social problems and from the actual people has inevitably led to the void being filled by media figures and celebrities who, like Gramsci’s “organic intellectuals,” show an absence of critical meta-commentary or interpretation. From the everyday to international political discourses, psychologization has rapidly taken over the society. The public is presented with a wide range of representatives of the profession and the field, thus finding opportunities to become “informed consumers” of psychological knowledge/practice.
In 1999, hundreds of volunteer psychologists and psychology students participated in organized interventions for emergency relief and post-traumatic stress counseling immediately following the devastating earthquakes, and this significantly improved the prestige of psychological practice in the eyes of the general public. Despite this and the TPA’s repeated attempts over the decade, there has been no change in their legal status or their supplementary role in the institutional hierarchy. Currently, the TPA aspires to mimic the American Psychological Association (APA) in many respects, including its ethic codes and its categories of subspecializations, and has already made a call for establishing divisions, ironically at a time of increased critical discussions about the fragmentation of the APA and the extreme specialization of psychology. At present coordinating branches of the TPA exist in only four other major cities, in addition the central office in the capital, and these are working to build a professional community.
We have reason to reconsider that psychology as a new “scientific” field already was beginning to evolve among the Ottoman intelligentsia toward the end of 19th century. Attention has been focused on the differentiation of the subject matter from philosophical problems, and on its secularization from Islamic philosophies, although the basic orientation was toward philosophical, hermeneutic, speculative and introspective psychology. Early translations and transfers of knowledge were dominantly from French psychology. Yet, during the Young Turks’ eager modernization efforts, an agreement was made with the German government to build up the Ottoman educational system as well as to obtain other technological transfers. Since the international consensus on the origin of modern psychology at the time was (and still is) Wundt’s psychophysiological method (i.e., Boring, 1929), we can infer easily why Anschütz and the laboratory he established in 1915 have been considered as the origins of “scientific psychology” in the Ottoman Empire.
Yet, the establishment of psychology as an academic knowledge field, discipline, and profession, especially in applied areas such as school/counseling, clinical/community, and organizational/industrial psychology, has been very slow, during in its first century, particularly when compared with the reported developments of other modernizing societies outside the so-called “Western center,” and when judged by the quality of individual academic psychologists that Turkish society has produced despite the significant amount of brain drain in the field. These observations press us to look for possible reasons for resistance beyond the understandable “external” sociopolitical and economic conditions created by the wars for the society of the young nation-state of the Turkish Republic during its process of Westernization, secularization, democratization, and individuation (Gülerce, 2007a). We cannot overlook the built-in epistemological and ontological features of the discipline that various critiques, frequently referred to as postmodern, have discussed already.
(p. 566) As a corollary to mainstream scientism, cultures and societies are incorrectly presumed to be homogeneous, and that brings us to internal sociopolitical conditions and dynamics. As a matter of fact, the earlier discussion on the Ottoman and Turkish societies’ “voluntary adoption” of Westernization needs to be read along these lines, as the official state discourse that does not necessarily correspond to the perceptions of the population. As an Orientalist discourse needs an Occidentalist discourse within the “host” society in order to be sustained in the West, Kemalism served this purpose (cf. Gülerce, 2007a, b). Although it was strongly supported by the elite and bureaucrats in early modern Turkey, and was disseminated rapidly on the surface through state plans and regulations, Western modernization, institutionalization, and democratization was not truly actualized by the majority at all levels and sectors. One obvious reason is that these programs gave priority to the constitution of a secular social state based on law, populism, and economic development, hence were directly concerned with the public space through the legal, political, economical, and pedagogical discourses.
On the other hand, the lack of local intellectual and economic “emancipations” in the sense of Western enlightenment and industrialization, as well as the establishment of liberalism or a bourgeoisie and industrial working class, left not only the majority of the population untouched internally, but left untransformed the private space (and the psychology of individuals) of even the elite, caught up in competing traditional, religious, moral, medical, and psychological discourses. The subject is frequently described as the complying kul (janissary, the conformed subject) in the undifferentiated tebaa (the social community of the conformed subjects) in the Ottoman Empire, whereas the modern Western concept of the individual is defined as a citizen with human and moral rights. Western psychological discourse served the sociopolitical role of constructing the subject for the project of constructing a modern civil society.
It would make more sense to review the development of psychology from within different communities and discourses of this heterogeneous society. Indeed, sociopolitical analyses that were discussed earlier defined a split between the Islamist and Kemalist communities. Yet, a critical conceptual and discourse analysis (Gülerce, 2007b) described not two, but four split discourses and imagined communities in the society. These discourses representing different communities in modern Turkey (un)welcomedpsychoanalysis to the society in various degrees for various reasons (Gülerce, 2008). We can understand the ambivalent admiration and resistance toward Western psychology with its deep seated Cartesian dichotomies, and the notion of autonomous, rationalist, materialist and individualist individual in similar lines of multiplicity and diversity by various means.
Furthermore, it would be misleading to read the history of psychology in Turkey only as a passive response to external, global, and macro politics working inside or outside the discipline, and to ignore the significant determining impact of the internal, local and micro politics inside the scientific community, which inseparably make up and continuously redefine each other. After all, it is the human scientists that make science and the scientific community (cf. Kuhn, 1962). Thus, there is a need for further research into those names and contributions that have been excluded, marginalized, or oppressed during mainstream psychology’s disciplinary and professional discourse in Turkey. This makes the history of psychology in Turkey a highly promising field.
What must be already obvious is that the journey of psychology as an autonomous discipline and profession in Turkey has been under the direct influence of internal government control and international political relations. In parallel to the official modernization efforts during both the late Ottoman and early Republican times, and depending on the foreign country in close political proximity at the time, Euro-American psychology has been indirectly imported from various sources. Thus, French, British, German, and American psychologies, have made multiple entries during different historical periods. Although each left certain traces (mostly as technology rather than as any school of thought or scientific paradigm), hegemonistic American(ized) psychology and its positivist, empiricist, determinist, cognitivist, ahistorical, and acultural paradigm had an overpowering effect on the academic discipline in Turkey. Although this is not unusual and is similar to the psychological knowledge and practices in many other modern and “developing” societies today, it has not developed psychology particularly as a profession in social practice, as one might have expected. The very fact that there are no available statistics on employed psychologists in the State Statistics Institute’s nor in the TPA’s records, as well as the absence of laws, legislation, professional boards, licensing, or any sort of (p. 567) regulations for practice should be significant signifiers of the discipline’s developmental status in society, despite its inception a century ago. Psychology in Turkey has not yet achieved official or legitimate recognition in this modernizing, institutionalizing society.
On the other hand, just as with the modernization experience of the society, the history of Psychology is being constantly confronted by pervasive local traditional, religious, philosophical, cultural, and political discourses, as well as by poor economic and educational conditions. Characteristic features of Western modernist scientific thought and mainstream Americanized psychology are frequently described as reductionist, rationalist, elementalist, dichotomic, predeterministic, normative, quantitative, control-oriented, manipulation-based, self-centric, ethnocentric, individualistic, and so on. These characteristics simply do not fit with local ontological and epistemological premises of personhood as they were projected, constructed and identified as the opposites of the Western self as in the othering process (cf. Said, 1978). Despite rapid changes in social structure and organization of Psychology in academia mainstream psychology’s subject matter and hegemonic methodology do not have high correspondence and validity in people’s reality. Thus, psychology still did not find a genuinely cultivating intellectual habitat in this culture which is implicitly treated as ‘exotic’, ‘deviant’, ‘primitive’, ‘traditional’, and so on by the normative principles of the discipline.
Nonetheless, two domains of agreement in dialogue between the seemingly clashing (Huntington, 1997) traditions over modernity appear to be the phallocentric idealization of, and preoccupation with, “hard” scientific instruments, and “instrumental rationalityBy technology, I am not only referring to psychological laboratories and tests, of course, but also to the concepts, theories, epistemologies, ontologies, thought patterns, methods, practices, values, lifestyles, etc. as technologies of the self (cf., Rose, 1996). Indeed, from its early inception until the present, psychology has been dependent on Western technology. Psychology could be accepted by political powers only if found convincingly useful in the construction of the subject as a governable citizen for the modern nation-state, and thus only understood for its pedagogic value. Despite the fact that psychology has been imitative of mainstream (American) psychology from its curricula to its organizational aspirations, it does not yet have an agency in this society, which has been hesitant to transform its traditional institutions and authoritarian practices further towards a liberal democratic societal enabling more individual freedom and rights.
A truly indigenous psychology (defined as the emergence of psychology within a particular culture), say modern Turkish psychology, Sufi psychology, Islamist psychology, etc., has not been realized. Nor do I advocate or even see the possibilities for it, as that would be oxymoronic (see Gergen et al., 1996). There have been strong signs of indigenization (defined as adaptation/revisions of imported tools, models, concepts) from culturally aware psychological testing to socially relevant empirical and theoretical studies related to the issues of migration, gender, family, psychological health, and social transformations. Notwithstanding the few research projects undertaken under the influence of sociology and cultural anthropology during the 1970s, the cross-cultural psychology paradigm offered academic psychology a long-sought way of belonging to an international community. It is frequently overlooked, however, how the migration of particular constructions of the psychological, and the universalization/globalization of the discipline and its social order of origin are reified and objectified via cross-cultural psychological research, knowledge, and practice. In the absence of methodological critique and meta-theoretical reflections it is not quite understood how the self and other intelligibilities are massively repressed even when claims are made otherwise (cf.; Gülerce, 1996; Moggadham, 2006; Steauble, 2005). Psychology in Turkey does not yet think for itself.
Not only is the disciplinary knowledge that can be freely or readily available in Turkey limited and predominantly presented in the English language, but psychology is both thought and (re)produced in English for most part, in undergraduate and graduate education and in academic research. Furthermore those who enter these programs also come from secondary schools whose medium of education is in the same (English) or some other European (German, French, Italian) language. The situation facing the transfer and translation of knowledge has already been discussed in relation to both narrow definition of linguistics and in the larger sense of discursive practices. Psychology in Turkey does not yet have a language and episteme for itself.
To summarize, psychology in Turkey, leaving the individual accomplishments of well-educated and highly qualified academic psychologists aside, is in an infantile state in its disciplinary and professional development. Many Turkish colleagues, perhaps, (p. 568) would find my evaluation pessimistic as they tend to interpret the global expansion of psychology (cf. Staeuble, 2005; 2006,) and proudly celebrate its reflections on Turkey as self-achievements (e.g., Başaran & Şahin, 1990). That would be the case, however, if I viewed its development and imitative “as-if” character between the Euro-American (Judeo-Christian) modern and Turkish (Islamic) traditional knowledge/practices from the former’s normative and corrective perspective, and in terms and standards of its modernist grand narrative of linear, universalistic, flat, static, and teleologic progress (cf. Gülerce, 1996). Yet, in terms of disciplinary and professional identity formation, and judged by the same criteria, mainstream psychology has exactly the same imitative “as-if” character and “physics envy” between the hard and soft sciences, the objective and the subjective, the natural and the cultural, the quantitative and the qualitative, theory and practice, the external and the internal, emic and etic, and between many other Cartesian dichotomies of its own reconstruction. It is equally infantile and underdeveloped, lacking firm boundaries and identity. Yet, this common borderline condition is not to be understood or treated as sociocultural divergence (emerging within the international/global context of Turkish modernization) or as scientific pathology (a method of mainstream Western psychology). That is its style of ‘identification’ Reflecting the multiple intellectual resources of psychology in Turkey, psychology has been a multiparadigmatic and pluralist endeavor (cf. Gülerce, 2009c). Thus, ironically, it is a good thing perhaps that psychology in Turkey has not yet developed as much as “it should” over a century. Once its co-constructive interdependence within the global knowledge/power dynamics is better understood, “the psychology of Turkey” could provide a means through which global psychology mirrors, examines, and transforms both itself and psychologies elsewhere, and thereby liberates both. This should occur before, rather instead of, attempts to “emancipate” or “liberate” the less privileged using unsuitable methodologies and ethics that only reproduce the status quo, which can easily be done even in the name of critique (Gülerce, 2001). Otherwise, by the first decade of 21st century, psychology both in Turkey and in the larger postmodern society does not yet have a “meaning” for itself.
There are reasons to be optimistic about the future of psychology in Turkey and elsewhere if we agree on the conclusions drawn here. They immediately hint at directions for future progress (cf. (Gülerce, 2009). Once again, the “underdevelopment” of psychology in Turkey, as elsewhere outside the hegemonic First World, is not something negative that needs to be corrected or disciplined as a deviance from the modernist constructions of Western norms and ideals. There have been multiple meaning-making centers in the histories of humankind and the spiritual world of meaning, and these cannot be colonized despite the overpowering effects of Western thought in psychological sciences. Therefore, any contextually contingent divergence from the mainstream expectations of assimilation should feed back into the alteration of (meta)scientific commitments and methodological presumptions of its own universalistic dissemination models of development from one (self) center toward further global convergence of abstract principles. Psychology could further deconstruct and historically decontextualize its reductionistic mainstream knowledge and practices, and redefine itself in connection with multidisciplinary understandings of human phenomena within the historical context.
It is expected that third-generation Turkish psychologists who are being raised in the postmodern global context and have better access to diverse thought systems inside or outside the fragmented academia will find some value in thinking in their own language on their own problematized questions, which are interdependently connected to global dynamics in spite of the fact that self-alienation and interpellation of the field by scientific, cultural, official, traditional, religious, and ideological discourses is so strong. Mainstream psychological theory, which not only divorced itself from practice, but also marginalized difference, novelty, and critique, including psychoanalytic theorizing, urgently needs to self-reflect and reexamine its own historicity.
The global expansion of psychology needs to be understood in direct relation to the macro structures and processes of globalization. Psychology clearly remains trapped within the hegemonic individualistic, foundationalist, essentialist, and positivistic epistemology that cannot enter macro political discussions. The domination of social theory and political/economic analyses further prevent the possibilities for the innovative, creative, and liberatory potential of psychology for both the individual and society. Therefore, eager post-9/11 attempts toward a global psychology (e.g., Stevens & Gielen, 2008) via a universal code of ethics, calls to respond to regional issues of conflict, and further internationalization (p. 569) without careful unpacking, would equally seem parochial, and fall short of the desired transformations, prior to gaining some interdisciplinary recognition and political impact for psychology within its very own local Western capitalist social order.
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(1.) Following Danziger’s useful distinction, Psychology refers to the institutionalized modern discipline whereas psychology points to the subject matter’.
(2.) Gordon Alport taught sociology and English at Robert College before he took up his fellowship at Harvard the following year.
(3.) The team included the legendary methodologist Iffet Dinç and Sirel Karakaş in experimental psychology, Hüsnü Arıcı and Rükzan Eski in statistics, Orhan Aydın, Olcay Imamoğlu, and Deniz Şahin in social psychology, Gülden Acar (later Güvenç) and Rüveyda Bayraktar in developmental psychology, and Işık Savaşır, Perin Uçman (later Yolaç), and myself in clinical psychology.
(4.) I would like to thank Prof. Lutz H. Eckensberger of the Goethe Institute, Frankfurt for providing relevant information and confirming the German translations.
(5.) Numbers in parenthesis indicate the expected numbers by the publication of this book in 2011.