• First Language: Turkish

  • Subjects:  Women’s Studies

  • Journal Section: Research Article

  • Authors: Burcu ŞENTÜRK
    Ankara University

  • Dates: 1 June 2009

This study is based on in-depth interviews with mothers whose sons were soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces TAF and died in the armed conflict in the East and Southeast of Turkey between the years of 1993 and 2006. The narrative of the pain that these mothers suffer after the sudden death of their sons is discussed in relation to notions of nationalism and motherhood. How do these mothers perceive their pain and motherhood, and how are these politicized? How are these motherhoods represented and instrumentalized for militarist objectives? Moreover, how are mothers who challenge the gender roles deemed appropriate for them excluded both by their own community and by the state? In addressing these questions, it is shown that militarism, joined with nationalism, engages with Connell’s concepts such as hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity and reproduces rigid gender roles. It is argued that, in the context of armed conflict in Turkey, the motherhood of mothers of TAF soldiers can be understood through the concept of emphasized femininity, and the possibilities for breaking with this form of femininity are touched upon.

Motherhood, militarism, nationalism, hegemonic masculinity, emphasized femininity


Ankara University