In this post, we are answering your long lingering question, quest for finding a way to express your disbelief in defining yourself through your nationality. although it might play a tiny part in conservations, even as a box to be filled in an application for a trivilous card, you might still feel a bit of out of space, uneasy when asked about your national identity. You might want to start telling, how complicated it is to just nail it down with a word. You might want to raise the shattering of identities, or tell how sick and constructed it is. Or say, or ask the person how often does s/he really thinks about her/his national identity? And even it seems like a very simple-straightforward question, what it actually refers to, in everyday conversation is, where you are from, under which lights, weather conditions you grown up, where your accent come from, to locate you, although they might not have a particular idea about that part of the world. What they know would be generic, even streotypical. but yet, an idea about what kind person you might be, a touchy mediterranean, a whining middle easterner, a loud north american, laid back latin american?
anyway, all those things aside, you face a very simple question on the surface of it. But then it is not that simple for you. You would like to talk about, how you think the founder of the turkish identity actually formulated a performative national identity, by saying anyone that says I am turkish is turkish.
but you cannot do that, at least not to everyone.
so I was thinking a way of telling it, just answering the question with a word, but twisting it. Try stressing the -ish at the end, which gives the meaning of approximity to the word. which will eliminate the preciseness, the contained nature, circumscribed borders of national identity. and dont forget to wave your hands, on a horizontal axis, to underpin your emphasis on the approximate.
Mauss describes 'techniques of the body' as highly developed
body actions that embody aspects of a given culture. Techniques may also be
divided by such as gender and class (for example in the manner of walking or
These include such as eating, washing, sitting, swimming,
running, climbing, swimming, child-rearing, and so on.
The techniques are adapted to situations, such as aboriginal
squatting where no seats are available. Techniques are thus a 'craft' (Latin:
habilis) that is learned. Hence I have had this notion of the social nature of the 'habitus' for many years. Please note that I use the Latin word-it should be understood in France-habitus. The word translates infinitely better than 'habitude' (habit or custom), the 'exis', the 'acquired ability' and 'faculty' of Aristotle (who was a psychologist). It does not designate those metaphysical habitudes, that mysterious 'memory', the subjects of volumes or short and famous theses. These 'habits' do not just vary with individuals and their imitations, they vary especially between societies, educations, proprieties and fashions, prestiges. In them we should see the techniques and work of collective and individual practical reason rather than, in the ordinary way, merely the soul and its repetitive faculties.
(Mauss, 1973, p.73).
The teaching of these methods is what embeds the methods and the
teaching is embedded within cultures and schools of teaching. A pupil who
becomes a teacher will likely teach what they are taught.
Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu
developed the ideas further in habitus, the non-discursive aspects of
culture that bind people into groups, including unspoken habits and patterns of
behavior as well as styles and skill in body techniques.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press
Elias, N. (1978). The History of Manners. The Civilizing Process: Volume I.
New York: Pantheon Books
Elias, N. (1982). Power and Civility. The Civilizing Process: Volume II.
New York: Pantheon Books
Mauss, Marcel. 1934. Les Techniques du corps, Journal de Psychologie
32(3-4). Reprinted in Mauss, Sociologie et anthropologie, 1936, Paris: PUF
Fieldnotes may be no more than a trigger for bodily and a hitherto subconscious memories. We cannot write down the knowledge at the time of experiencing it, although we may retrospectively write of it in autobiographical modes. The specific ways in which we learned awaits recounting (Okely 1978). Bourdieu notes how the body can be treated “ as a memory” (1977: 94), it cannot always be consciously controlled. Anthropologists acquire a different bodily memory in fieldwork experience as an adult in another culture. The commonplace analogy between the anthropologist and a child learning another culture is misleading since the anthropologist is already formed and shaped by history. He or she has no change or superimpose new experience upon past embodied knowledge (Mauss 1938), and come to terms with a changing self embodied in new contexts.
Okeley, J. (1992). Anthropology and autobiography: Participatory experience and embodied knowledge.Routledge. London and NY, p. 16
The in between space of the stranger, newcomer, misfit, how she encounters her attachements, conditionings, herself, her culturally informed self, in another context, another culture. Culture as a set of –more or less- established formulas, problem solving strategies towards daily questions, obstacles, a set of reflexes.
What I am looking at is, getting used to it, settling down, trying to fit, connect, relate, understand, perform within it. to be fluent. ill always be stammering. so many things to catch up.
Attaching, settling down without growing roots.
Yerleşmek, yerleşememek, yerlileşememek,
carrying a sense of home with, witnessing how the old habits change.
the relation I build up between here and there. the way i stay here, the way i dwell there.
my stay here is time-matter based, up there it is a timeless bond.
the way my history unearths itself with every fresh, unknown, unfamiliar encounter which requires another history to be able to properly respond, act. even to behave improperly, you should know what is proper. i cannot here. that forces you to adopt, develop other criteria. based on... short term memory? to go through a set of fast track disappointments?throw yourself into the wilderness?
bugün bi kafede oturmuş kitabımı ve kendimi kısa bir sanatçı konaklama programına misafir ediyodum. küçük fincan kahvesi içilmiş ve de kahve köpükleri ardında izlerini bırakmıştı bardakta. alışkanlık işte, bi de boş fincanın kitaptan bir mola gibi masada durup durup gözüme takılmasından olacak, köpüklerin şekillerine bakmaya başladım. işte nessie tam orda karşımda duruyodu.
1.in the video, the audience is the making (or cooking) of a metric ruler, on a piece of wood. as to what that piece of wood or length of wood is we have no idea. so one thing that might be lost in the video could be that the evenly distributed centimeters on the wood actually does not overlap with the actual, standard measurement units. but the hand intervenes into the screen to give a sense of proportion, scale. with the guidance, reference point of the hand we can tell that the numbers and the intervals are bigger-larger than they supposed to be.
a pinch of reddish dust is sparkled on the surface, than we watch the making of a ruler, a measuring device being mad. some thought that it was red soil, some, looking at the actual object in the space (where I used cumin) said it is sand.
but I guess it is a measuring and knowing with the limit of one's material and one's self.
in a sense we are witnessing the invention of a new ruler.
a ruler assumes a straight line between two points. a shortcut. to make things easly translatable into one another.
the empty space available for the bookcase you are planning to buy, and the space the bookcase occupy, the dimensions of the bookcase.
measuring gives you an abstract number, idea that can be translatable into a concrete thing again.
making my way in a new culture which have its own kind of practices, I am looking for the right times, right moments, right moves. seizing the responses, reactions, and adjusting my responses, registering them to my vocabulary to act, perform better next time, at the next encounter.
A şehrinden B şehrine gitmekte olan...
someone is making a ruler with a dusty material: what would you think?
Dust: ephemeral material, very fragile to exterior conditions. a dust, a shake, a mistake can dismantle it.
ruler: standard, rigid, universal, as rigid as stone. you take it as a reference. you measure the size, dimension of things with it. than note it down, carry your measurements with you, and with another ruler you can remake, recreate the actual size of the object that is not there anymore.
it makes object portable without carrying them. you can carry the physical dimensions of objects in your pocket.
it is a perfect translation, when the only thing you want to know it the dimensions, weight.
like a receipe; following the instructions, mixing the stated amounts of stuff together in the right order.
a handmade ruler: personal, imperfect.
customized, not translatable.
then, there is the futile attempt of doing it, the excessive amount of time spent doing that futile thing.
both because it is not translatable but also it is waste of time.
rather refrain myself from recording, documenting, and the work being a raw documentary. what would an autoethnographic documentary look like?
because I did not want to throw myself onto the others. it is not about me.