Articulation of Kurdish identity through politicized music of koms

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Turkey

Approval Date: 2010


Supervisor: BARIŞ ÇAKMUR


The thesis analyzes the role of politicized music of Kurdish music groups (koms) that emerged in the 1990s in the construction of Kurdish identity. The relation between politics and music is analyzed in the framework of the relation between nationalism and music and political movements' relation to music. Through koms' politicized music, the movement communicated its cause, told the struggle of the movement and aimed to mobilize the masses. In addition to this, music has functioned as a field where the collective identity of the movement as well as the Kurdish identity is constructed. As the Kurdish movement did not possess the institutional and ideological apparatuses of the national state in its national identity construction process, music started to play an important role. Through modernization of Kurdish folk music, the identity is constructed as a modern and authentic one. In addition, with the political lyrics of the songs, the national elements such as common language, common history and the imagined territory are constructed, popularized, and canonized. Despite their counter-hegemonic position, koms have articulated elements of the hegemonic discourses as well.