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The History of New Media in Turkey: Radio, Television, and Mobile Devices


When radio was first introduced in Turkey in the 1920s, people considered this new medium an alien technology that promoted Western imperialism. In the 2000s, however, the Western origins of digital technologies—as the new media of the present—went unnoticed and they were mostly welcomed as new venues for expressing upward mobility, class distinction, and alternative political opinions. These shifting public responses to new media forms in countries such as Turkey—that are never fully “Western”—have received little attention from media scholars, who mostly trace similar histories in Western contexts. Filling this lacuna in interdisciplinary media studies, this project examines the changing relationship of technology to global, class, and gender inequalities since Turkey’s foundation as a nation-state in the 1920s to the current era. By specifically analyzing the country’s course from a nationalist and developmentalist economy to neoliberalization, the project addresses two particular questions: 1) As new political economic conditions transform gender, class based, and global inequalities, how do these newly reframed hierarchies make visible a medium’s novelty? 2) How does this perceived novelty inform the ways that lower and middle classes, different gender groups, and state officials use new technologies to challenge or reproduce inequalities? The study combines participant observation with archival research and comparatively examines the citizens’ and the state officials’ reactions to new media forms in three periods: radio in the 1920s, television in the 1950s, and mobile devices in the 2000s. As the first comprehensive study on the history of new media forms in a nation-state such as Turkey—that is at the intersection of Europe and the Middle East—my work highlights how technological novelty is constructed in relation to global and national hierarchies. It also shows that not only inventors but also users play a key role in creating technological newness.

Field of science

  • /humanities/arts/modern and contemporary art/radio and television
  • /humanities/history and archaeology/history
  • /social sciences/sociology/social problems/social inequality
  • /social sciences/media and communications/library science
  • /social sciences/sociology/gender studies/gender equality

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Rumeli Feneri Yolu Sariyer
34450 Istanbul
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 157 355,52