NEGOTIATING ALEVI IDENTITY IN DIASPORA: EXPRESSIVE CULTURAL PRACTICES OF THE TORONTO ALEVI COMMUNITY


EROL A.

TURK KULTURU VE HACI BEKTAS VELI-ARASTIRMA DERGISI, no.56, pp.39-60, 2010 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 56
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Journal Name: TURK KULTURU VE HACI BEKTAS VELI-ARASTIRMA DERGISI
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.39-60
  • Keywords: Alevi Identity, Diaspora, Migration, Transnationalism, Music and Dance, MUSIC, ISLAM
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Based on my observations and in-depth interviews over a ten-month period in 2007, this study explores the efforts of Toronto's Alevi community to maintain a separate identity in their adopted country, while attempting to integrate their families into society. Major issues in my case study include the question of whether, and how, Alevis in Toronto maintain a sense of self-identity and a measure of communal cohesion. Special attention is given to the music and dance practices of the Toronto Alevi Community. Expressive cultural practices such as music and dance provide an analytical tool for the relations between diaspora communities and their home countries. This is because the music and dance practices of many communities in diaspora are considered to be a means of constructing identity. In a foreign environment, yet connected to others via transnational networks, Toronto's Alevi immigrants (as a diasporic society with roots in Turkey) rely on cultural and musical performances to aid community cohesion and to reflect on their relationship with their Alevi past. By investigating the Alevi movement in Turkey and Canada from a comparative perspective, my aim in this paper is to explore to what extent the Alevi musical revival in Turkey influences the music practices of Alevis in Toronto.