A Sociological Look at the Relationship Between Popular Religious Music and Power

Art was a phenomenon that was mostly dependent upon or determined by power in the pre-modern era. In particular, kings or local rulers attached great importance to the works of art that symbolized their sovereignty and power. During this period, the artists who addressed the public lived under difficult conditions. The emergence of mass media in the modern era has enabled public art, and especially music, to become a major industry. More generally, this new industry, commonly referred to as popular culture, has become a new source of research and debate for social scientists. Conflict theorists in sociology suggested that the culture in question has an ideological function and is produced by the rulers to control the masses. The general negative attitudes of pious people towards music have changed since the 1985s in Turkey. Until that time, the religious people had critical views on music and other popular cultural products for religious and ideological reasons. However, the new popular religious music, which was independent of traditional Turkish music and religious music, emerged with serious religious, social, and political messages and influenced certain segments of religious people. Towards the 2000s, this genre of music, under the influence of the social-political conjuncture, was subjected to change in discourse and style and began to lose its influence on religious people. This article will focus on the emergence, development, and major messages and changes took place in popular religious music in recent history of Turkey within the framework of the relationship between music and power. In this way, we anticipate that our work will contribute to the recent and discourse on religious and political change in Turkey.


Sociology of Religion, Islam, Turkey, Power, Popular Religious Music, Artist.

Author : - Vejdi BİLGİN
Number of pages: 187-207
Full text:
Toplum Bilimleri Dergisi
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