OGUZ ALYANAK, then a graduate student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in October 2015 to aid research on 'Fear of the Ordinary: Muslim Turks Negotiate Men's Moral Worth in the Franco-German Borderland,' supervised by Dr. John Bowen. Where does a Muslim Turkish man go after a long day's work in Strasbourg? How does he decide where and how to spend his free time? In a borderland geography known for its vices, this question generates moral anxieties. As the moral pollution ascribed to the borderland bleeds into mundane contexts of ethical thinking, and sticks onto ordinary men, places, and practices, it transforms them into subjects of a moral inquiry. The inquiry revolves around two frameworks -- Islamic morals, and temptations -- that shape men's outside lives. Building on a year of fieldwork in Strasbourg, and its German neighbor, Kehl, this research asks how Turkish men reflect on these frameworks while engaging in leisure practices. It describes how they negotiate moral transgressions and come to terms with the potential consequences of their actions. The findings reveal that the struggle to be a moral person is also shaped by an emotional lack -- of being respected, loved and cared for -- that most migrant men collectively share. Their reflections suggest thinking of men's outside lives as also a search for emotional fulfillment, which cannot be attained in other domains, such as work or home.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Washington U., St. Louis
Alyanak, Oguz, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Fear of the Ordinary: Muslim Turks Negotiate Men's Moral Worth in the Franco-German Borderland,' supervised by Dr. John Bowen