Modernity Thesis

The situational logic behind taste echoes and reaffirms Bourdieu’s theory of the fields; each field has its own ‘general laws’ and ‘specific properties that are peculiar to that field’ (Bourdieu, 1993b: 72, italics in original).This finding alone falls contrary to many works in the literature, which envision a static field of social practices, and supports this thesis’ main argument; food cultures (or cultures for the same matter) are contextual.Unfettered by the restraints of traditional beliefs, there was a new appreciation of the limitless potential of human beings to achieve the utopian dreams of previous generations. New ideologies - Communism, Fascism, Nazism - that promised new worlds won the fanatical support of millions.

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When was it that people first had the sense of living in new and different times— Modern Times?

Charlie Chaplin’s famous 1936 film of that name suggests one answer, but scholars have different view of the beginning of modernity.

Traditional beliefs, already weakened by eighteenth century science, were exploded by the work of Darwin and others in the nineteenth.

A crisis of belief, combined with an emergence of democratic, revolutionary ideologies, had begun to turn the world upside down.

Where we have been, and where we are going can be better understood through MALS 70800 Transformations of Modernity, 1914-present.

Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.Unprecedented scientific achievements revolutionized our understanding of the world, and the universe.Industrial manufacturing created the possibility of unlimited plenty.This thesis studies the operationalization of culture in Turkish society using sociality of food and eating as its operational laboratory.It is primarily interested in the construction of taste and the organization of social practices in light of Turkey’s complicated socio-cultural constitution, its contested identities and nation state formation, as well as socio-political transitions.The unique findings of the thesis manifest that indeed taste is a complex matter; markers of taste are not necessarily static or stable.As this thesis will highlight, Turkish individuals deploy a situational logic in their practices, which can also manifest itself as an incongruous use of the modern and traditional together.Although peace and prosperity had begun to be achieved at the end of the century, even this was soon threatened by a capitalist world revolution that even now is fundamentally transforming the world economic landscape.It's been a bumpy ride, and it's not over yet, as the hopes and sorrows of the past continue to inform our world today.Rather, the thesis explores the contradictory positionings that characterize everyday lives of individuals in Turkey (more specifically Istanbul), which can manifest themselves clearly in their food cultures.Food facilitates a unique insight into the active making and remaking of cultural distinctions and identity, since food is about sociality, practice and organization, formality and commensality; and as this thesis will also argue, it also extends to notions of cosmopolitanism, modernity, tradition and authenticity.


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