The Ambivalent Role of National Landmarks in the Age of Globalization
The case of Atatürk’s mausoleum in Turkey
Central European University
It is argued that national landmarks play an increasingly ambivalent role in relation to the state project in the age of globalization, since states are less and less interested in architecture for the purpose of nation-building. Despite this phenomenon, daily visits to Anitkabir, the last resting place of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, located in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, have recently started to set all time high records. It is usually suspected that such development is due to the recent manipulation of the monument by secular and pro-republican political actors as a site of protest and dissent against globalization and the (trans-)formative policies of the secular nation-state structure of Turkey. Drawing upon the politics of performing memory observed during two field trips to the site and in-person individual interviews conducted with its visitors, I argue that such interpretation would be too simple a way out of the conundrum concerning Anitkabir’s still privileged role in shaping collective memories in Turkey. I suggest instead that Anitkabir, as one of the most important landmarks of the Republic of Turkey, continues, aesthetically, to arouse the public imagination in Turkey in the context of the ongoing nation building and re-building process.
The full article is available as a PDF document: click here.
© borderlands ejournal 2010