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Anadolu Aleviliği(özelyazı)

Bir Alevi Dedesiyle söyleşi

Alevi Başkaldırıları

Osmanlı Arşivi



Alevilik Araştırmaları Üzerine

Alevi İslamcı Olamaz

'Hava Kararırsa Oteli Ateşe Verecekler

Pirsultan Kürt direnişçisi?

Pirsultan şiirleri ve türküleri(diğer sitemde derlenmiştir, okuyabilir ve dinleyebilirsiniz)

Kürt ırkçılarının Alevi kültürüne saldırıları devam ediyor

Aziz Nesin`in Madımak katliamından bir gün önceki konuşması

2 Temmuz..Madımak..Tıklayınız..

Temmuzda küçük bir araştırma! Medyamız ne kadar duyarlı idi?

Alevilik İslamın içinde mi yoksa dışında mı sorusu tuzak ve kasıtlıdır

Hacı Bektaş Veli Bir Batıni Dai'siydi

Hak'ka yürümek

Medyada Muharrem ayı

Alevilerin ilk siyasal partisi (Türkiye) Birlik Partisi

Aleviliğin Osmanlı dönemi yazılı kaynakları

Kızılbaşlık ve Kızılbaşlar

Osmanlı'nın şeytanı Cumhuriyet döneminin gericilik simgesi: Saz

Anadolu aleviliğinde ocak sistemi ve dedelik kurumu

Alevilik kaynağı kökleri ve gelişimi İ.Kaygusuz

İnanç düşünce ve siyasal tarih bağlamında Alevilik İ.Kaygusuz

Hacı Bektaş Veli'nin Yaşadığı Tarihsel Ortam

Ali Balkız:'Sivas'ta Ergenekon mu gizlendi'

Nejat Birdoğan Söyleşi

Maraş katliamı (24 aralık 1978)

Çorum katliamı(1980)

Malatya olayları katliamlar(1975-80)

Aleviliğin kökeni tartışması

Babailer - Anadolu Devriminin Kavşak Noktası

Hacı Bektaş ve Babai Ayaklanması

Princeton Üniversite konferas metni(Zülfü Livaneli)

Pir Sultan'ın Şah İsmail değerlendirmesi

"Kılıcından Kızılbaş kanı damlayan" Yavuz

Alevi Açılım

Hacıbektaş-ı Veli Türbesinde bulunan semboller ve anlamları

Cumhuriyet tarihinin Alevi katliamı belgeselleri
Maraş katliamı belgeseli
Çorum katliamı belgeseli
Sivas Madımak belgeseli

Dışarıdan Alevilik hakkında bakış açıları için birkaç örnek:

The Alevis of Turkey-Tina Hamrin Dahl

The Alevi and questions of identityw Roman"-Tina Hamrin Dahl

A Surviving Neoplatonism: on the Creed
of the Bektashi Order. Conversations
with a Mursit

Religious Courts Alongside Secular State Courts:
The Case of the Turkish Alevis

Dosyalara dön

The Alevis of Turkey: A Question of Estrangement?
Tina Hamrin Dahl

As he was studying how the process of civilization worked at a micro level, Norbert Elias (1897-1990) suggested that that which is deemed to be worthy of gossip is directly related to the norms and convictions specific to a given society, as well as to the state of its social relation. However, the established insiders of the society often regard themselves as being more civilised than recently settled outsiders, regardless of whether we study an English suburb (as Elias was doing) or the city of Kahramanmaraş in southern Anatolia.
Thus, insights into the nature and function of rumour can be very rewarding in the study of a particular divided society. Almost everywhere there is a deeply rooted perception of outsiders. General opinions and notions of people who have recently moved into the society often function as selective criteria when rumours are spread about these strangers. Events that do not conform to preconceived opinions are seldom of any interest, but negative consequences, which are regarded as the result of immoral actions by the newcomers, correspond to the established image and constitute a very important substrate for rumour, which is never an independent phenomenon.
Having conducted a study of outsiders, Elias noted the following together with his student John Scotson: the negative image of the new area which made "the villagers" see every confirming episode as worth passing on, was the opposite of the positive image that "the villagers" had of themselves. In everyday language, we tend to perceive gossip as more or less degrading information about a third person that two or more persons communicate to each other. Structurally however degrading gossip is inseparable from praising gossip, which is usually limited to one's own person or to groups that one identifies with. Elias regards power from several different perspectives. Power is not something that one group possesses, while another group lacks it - rather, it is a question of relationships. The balance of power is changeable in all configurations, and through this flexible balance an authoritative relation can gain meaning, but also lose its credibility. "Human figurations are in a constant state of flux, in tandem with shifting patterns of the personality and habits of individuals."
My research in Turkey calls to mind some of the issues raised in the study mentioned above. Why did the Alevis in the province of Kahramanmaraş meet such a miserable fate when they moved from their mountain village to the towns in southern Anatolia in the 1970s? Is it possible to find, in retrospect, the reasons for the massacres and harrasment to which they were subjected? It is possible that the consequences are more interesting than the circumstances which brought them about, in which case we should explore the violence as part of a phenomenon belonging to the social, cultural, religious, political and economical elements of the given social and historical whole. It should be possible to find explanations by means of history and memory. The expression of the past, the actual representation that carries the collective self-image of a group, is that which guides the group into the future.
The phenomena of "nationalism" and "ethnic affiliation" can be explored according to prescribed models presented by established nationalism researchers. Is a nationalist way of thinking inherent to human nature, as some claim; is nationalism a modernist phenomenon; or perhaps nations are the creations of nationalists? Could nationalism possibly be related to a capitalist need to control; or maybe we should use ethno-symbolic interpretations in order to explain nationalism as a phenomenon?
My reflections on classic analyses of nationalism have here given way to Norbert Elias' ideas about insiders and outsiders. However, the thoughts of Ernst Gellner are also present in my mind during the research process, albeit at times implicitly.
The Alevis have come under fire several times; now they are voicing their plight in a plea for help from the EU representatives in Brussels: "We exist and want to be acknowledged as an ethnic or religious group with minority status within the Turkish Republic!" My choice of subject, a study of the Alevis in Turkey, is both socio-political and ethno-religious, cultural and ideological - perchance it is also an economic analysis?

Set of questions
To a certain extent, Mats Alvesson and Stanley Deetz emphasize a perspective that I, too, use in my work: "'Politics' does of course not primarily refer here to parliamentary, or even explicitly extra-parliamentary politics, or to organisational politics or other power struggles that are connected with expressed interests and materialized conflicts (even if these are also significant), but to the wider institutional and ideological questions that shape society and social relations".
According to Mats Lindberg (previously Dahlkvist), who has analysed the state as a problem logically and historically, researchers within political science and political macro sociology often write about nation-building using Stein Rokkan as their model, focusing on the European nation state and nation building processes. If they do not base their writings on Rokkan's view on the development of democratic institutions and arenas, their guide is very often Seymour Martin Lipset's studies of the socio-cultural and historical-economic conditions of democracy. In many cases, the subject is the creation and organization of a political movement/political party.
This "either/or" setup is not tenable, since the issues explored are attitudes of an ethnocentric, modernist character. The transitional situation between traditionalism/modernism and nation/organization is seldom categorized in terms of political science. The phenomenon that I will focus on is the process of both ethnic construction and organization, with a religious reawakening as its symbolic cement and part of a ideology of a community, but which, at the same time, amounts to a political organization into a movement. According to Lindberg's experience within the field, a comparison with the labour movement, the Free Church movement and the temperance movement would not be totally irrelevant as pertaining to ethnic homogeneity and organising in a historical space where the state building is structured and clear.
In this text, I will present some thoughts both on a proposed outsiderhood and on an actual outsiderhood (as far as this state is at all measurable). My subject is a group of people which is not fully accepted by the Turkish state or by the country's Sunni Muslim majority. Above all, the issue explored in terms of the constructions of identity.
From a modernist viewpoint, the process in Turkey can be regarded as reform nationalism. Studies by primordialists, who think that nationalism is a timeless phenomenon, and by perennialists, according to whom nationalism is an old idea repeatedly emerging in new forms, have not been taken into account in my study. Researchers on nationalism of course hope to find the right theory, so as to be able to use scientific methods and axioms for their analyses of nationalism. Of the two dominant meta-narrative research theories that promise to deliver the truth about nationalism, primordialism can be called contextualism and modernism must be regarded as social constructionism. However, by using perspectivism we might perhaps be able to see that the grand narrative descriptions are limited for those who want to understand what nationalism is.
Researchers who want to study the shaping of "abstract communities" can, by applying a perspectivist way of thinking, get away from the meta-narratives on ethnic minorities. They can move away from social constructions and towards a competing model of interpretation that is based on various approaches and perspectives. The interplay in social relations is initiated by power, which is clearly discernible when studying communities from several perspectives.
Ontologically speaking, we should avoid so called realities (that are presented using various theories) and realize that nationalism is much more complicated and confusing than the great meta-narratives admit. Maybe the inter-subjective nature of the nation can be glimpsed through perspectivism? We must focus on origins and development, exceptions and exclusions, unforeseen events and potential possibilities in the processes that shape nations. We must question the way in which a certain perception of the nation is formulated and the way in which that perception becomes predominant over other social misconceptions, in order to perhaps create a special disciplinary form of knowledge.
By studying the nation through various lenses, researchers see that this is a constantly shifting concept. Perhaps genealogical questions should be asked the Sunni Muslim Turkish nationalists who present certain approaches?
We must explore what theories lie behind the various perspectives; how they have come to manifest themselves by asserting certain rules that have an impact on our powers of imagination and our thoughts about society. In order to be able to describe nationalism, it is important to know how different perspectives interact; we must also excavate the power relations that support and confirm the perspectives.
In other words, in a study of nationalism the researcher must be aware of the role of power relations and the risk of limiting one's ontological gaze, since everything appears so clear and self-evident in the various single models for interpreting nationalism. Power relations are not only involved in the construction of disciplinary meta-narratives within elite circles; they also play a certain part in the theories of nation building that are evident in social life. Thus, one must question and problematise nationalism instead of reifying the phenomenon. What kind of reason is produced by the nation? What forms for identity and customs are created because of the ways Sunni Turks think of the nation and have a feeling for some kind of nationalism?
People are always dependent on other people; therefore people exist in figurations, that is, many mutually dependent people together form groups. Norbert Elias uses the ballroom dance as a metaphor for this, since we do not see dance as a formation outside individuals, neither as a pure abstraction. The same dance figuration can, of course, be danced by several different individuals; but without several individuals, dependent on each other, who dance with each other, there is no dance. Time and time again in history, Sunni Muslims have tried to obliterate the Alevis; but both groups are somehow mutually dependent, even if they have never succeeded in dancing together. Methodologically, I explore texts that try to express an image of the Alevis, that proclaim their existence. What does the image look like? Are they outsiders? This essay is about identity, about "us" and "them"; that is, the social construction of "the Other".
Mustafa Kemal led the Turkish secularization process and demonstrated what norms were to be applicable. Nevertheless, Islam as the basic convention has never been eliminated; customs and manners have been shaped within the Muslim tradition. The Hanafi legal school of Sunni Islam has articulated the norms that are the standard of behaviour in Turkey. The Kurdish Shafi'i form of Sunni Islam is, at least nominally speaking, different, and the religion of the Alevis, which is the subject here, differs considerably from that of the majority. Kurds and Alevis are commonly regarded as being uncivilized by prejudiced Sunni Turks, explains Nedim Dagdeviren, Head of the Kurdish Library in Stockholm.
Using Elias' ideas on the relations between the established and the outsiders as my point of departure, I will explore the situation between Sunni Muslims and Alevis in the Kahramanmaraş region. Further, I will study the chain of events concerning the massacre that took place in December 1978 and reflect over theories of moral panic. The image of "us" and "them", the created history, the self-image of the Alevis - as it is presented both by Alevis and external researchers - are in focus.
According to Elias, the social is much more than "a by-product of agreements and contracts between freely acting individuals". His concept of figuration accentuates a unity between an individual and society which enables us to understand collective behaviour during, for example, moral panic. The rationalisation of processes must not be oversimplified - the individual and society must not be constructed as two separate worlds. "In the figuration model people are part of long and complex chains of dependence and interaction, chains of inter-dependence between people. Here, people are connected and related to each other, and between them there are power relations… The figuration model is also valid for relations between social groupings".
The spontaneous emotional impulses of individuals must be controlled if individuals are to be able to interact in modern society. "This important element of civilization Elias leaves partly to the self-control of individual actors, partly to social institutions… Power is, according to Elias, mainly expressed in the practical ability of dominant actors to turn various kinds of resource into means of maintaining or developing their own dominance."
Elias' concept of "double-bind figuration" is interesting in this context, since the 1978 massacre in Kahramanmaraş can be seen as a social situation with a spiral movement of panic and aggression between social groups. "Such conflicts lock those externally representing the groups in a destructive conflict and result in the institution of stereotypes with a 'hatred picture of the other side' which stands in contrast to an idealized picture of one's own side."
The aim of this essay is to try and illuminate a nationalisation process, focusing on a social group which is being harassed. By exploring the Alevi self-image and the image that is ascribed to this minority by the majority in Turkey, I will study an example of a civilization process in micro format - an example of Norbert Elias' theory of the established and the outsiders.
Is the process of stigmatizing the Alevis possibly linked to the nationalisation process? My objective includes, as Elias suggests, searching for ongoing processes that move over long historical periods. Above all, I wonder whether the oppression is as explicit as the Alevi historical narrative wants to claim, and whether various media had cemented notions of "us" and "them".
By studying the literature and mass media, and combining this with interviews, I will place Alevis and Sunnis against each other in the polar pairs of majority and minority, insiders and outsiders - however, always suspecting that dichotomies are illusory.
A survey of research on outsiderhood shows that studies of deviation initially were totally functionalist (when it comes to modern sociology). But when Howard S. Becker published Outsiders in 1963 and Erving Goffman Stigma in the same year, the authors underlined that other people's reactions contributed to the feeling (in those who were singled put) of being different. In the 1960s a number of books on deviance appeared. A disparate collection of theories on deviance was called labelling theory. "Although these studies were often classified together as belonging to the labelling or societal reaction perspective, this designation was a very wide blanket term, co¬vering a theoretically diverse body of works." Becker used theories of symbolic interactionism; several others based their arguments on Durkheim's functionalistic theories, while others used Marxist conflict theory as their point of departure. Phenomenological sociology, such as ethnomethodology, also began to be used within the sociology of deviance.
My studies here deal with a, historically speaking, long drawn-out process which repeatedly explodes in moral panic (the social construction of deviance); I also analyse collective behaviour, focussing on the function and role of rumour. As mentioned above, I will use Norbert Elias' theories of the established and the outsiders, and his observations about gossip.
Pertaining to research on ethnicity and nationalism, I find Benedict Anderson's concept of imagined community very useful - the Alevi community is in many respects an excellent example of this.
Having explored several different nationalist perspectives, Ernest Gellner appears very convincing. He was one of those who actually took care to look deeply into Islamic culture. According to Gellner, the urban section of the population submits to the state power and practices their religion in a different way from the ethnic groups which are dispersed in the mountain areas, since the latter, as far as possible, are able to act outside of the state rules on what is permissible. A composed, written doctrine fits the urban culture, while a less codified, more extrovert religiosity centred on individuals is more suitable for the "tribes". People are inside or outside the state sphere, and this division is crucial, since it affects various aspects of social life.
Naturally, I react negatively to such categorizing, but social anthropologist David Shankland (who has lived with Alevis for many years) happily accepts Gellner's theories. This invites consideration.
Earlier research on Alevis and Sunnis in Turkey was mainly in line with Gellner's thought: "Roughly speaking, there are two dominant life-styles. In one of them, your women work in the fields, are not secluded or veiled...social groups are very well defined and visible, religious life is centred on public festivals in which women play a very definite part, and which reaffirm the identity and boundaries of groups."
In the second style, which can be applied to the Sunni Muslims "ritual life is more sober, rule-bound, scripturalist, individualised, anonymous, and has a more marked tendency to exclude women."
Those who are independent, beyond central government and state authorities, need functional mechanisms for resolving disputes. Such groups have members who act as judges or mediators. In these groups, holiness is interpreted in a special way and persons who possess certain abilities are engaged to resolve disputes or to mediate between antagonists. The chosen ones enjoy certain privileges and the way in which the group interprets holiness provides those who act as mediators with protection. This affects many aspects of the society, including gender politics.
According to Gellner, the secularised state protests against those who inherit holiness and relatively autonomous groups with such leaders run the risk of losing their independence under a centralized state. Gellner also describes those who practice their religion within the context of the nation state; these people are resistant to secularism. (In the case of Turkey this applies to the Sunni Muslims.) Thus, Islam is compatible with modern nationalism.
In general, the Alevis try, as far as possible, to stay outside of the various state regulations. The Alevis have built their own community in opposition to the central government. The "tribes" that Gellner describes, and which he calls penumbra ("half-shadow"), largely live in Anatolia, but the state has endured their resistance. "The elite spoke Turkish, but did not single out the Anato¬lian peasantry as its favored object. It was a state elite, linked to the state, and it just happened to speak Turkish. It was in the past identified with Islam, but it controlled an ethnically and religiously variegated population."
Gellner's theories on Islam are interesting, and perhaps he is right in claiming that Islamic societies will remain Islamic; but maybe the Alevis, through their ceremonies and rituals can contribute to a secularization of the Turkish state.
Various explanations pertaining to nationalism and ethno-politics, and descriptions of the great threat to the Turkish state that the Alevis are alleged to constitute, are presented by several researchers. But an in-depth study of much research material reveal that rumour, slander, stories of group sex and general decadence, fanciful tales that depict the most bestial, devilish happenings in the Alevi places of worship, and spiteful descriptions that lable the Alevis as heretics, form the basis of the persecution of Alevis since Osman times.
Ideally, in the following section I will present a historical, social and political background, as well as a theoretical one, in order to give the required initial parameters.

The situation for the Turkish Alevis is somewhat chaotic, which is reflected here in the fact that I have not structured the article in terms of temporalities and dimensions according to different themes. Hopefully, analytical readers aware of perspectives can imagine for themselves invisible headings such as: (a) state-forming; (b) parties and social forces; (c) the Alevis as a people, religion and movement, etc. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Alevis have attempted to become more manifest as an ethnic minority group. All over Turkey, as well as in European immigrant communities, Alevi movements have arisen. Intellectual Alevis and leaders in various communities strain to define the Alevi identity, tradition and the history of the group.
The religion differs from Sunni Islam in that the Alevis do not pray five times per day; they do not fast during Ramadan, are not obliged to give alms, nor do they go on pilgrimage to Mecca. Instead, they have their own religious ceremonies (cem) that are led by holy men (dede) who inherit their vocation. At meetings, religious poetry (nefes) is recited, Turkish Alevi songs are sung and men and women perform ritual dances (semah) together. 'Ali and the Safavid Shah Isma'il are deified; at least they are perceived as being superhuman. Pre-Islam Turkish and Iranian religious elements have to a large extent been preserved among the Alevis, but have vanished within Sunni Islam. It is, for example, common that the Alevis make pilgrimages to holy sites, such as springs and waterfalls, mountain tops and martyr graves. Shari'a does not form the basis of their norms and values; the Alevis have their own moral rules. Generally speaking, they consider themselves to be living according to the inner meaning of religion (batin), instead of following its outer demands (zahir).
Alevism consists of several different communities whose beliefs and ritual activities differ from each other to a relatively large degree. Linguistically, four groups can be distinguished: in the eastern province of Kars the Alevis speak Azerbaijan Turkish; religiously, they are close to the Shi'ism of present-day Iran (called the Sect of Twelve). 'Ali and his descendants are regarded as infallible; they are illuminated by the Divine Light. Here, there are obvious traces of Gnostic, Neo-Platonic and Zoroastric motifs.
The Arabic-speaking Alevi community of southern Turkey (Hataya and Adana) can be seen as an extension of the Alawit group in Syria (called nuşairīs). Historically, these should not be connected with the Turkish Alevis.
The two dominant groups are the Turkish-speaking and the Kurdish-speaking Alevis. According to Gloria Clarke's thorough study, we cannot claim that there is one homogenous community, even if the same religious belief system is shared by the Alevis and the Sufis belonging to Bektaşi, since there are regional differences within each group. The Tunceli province is the cultural centre of the Kurdish Alevis, but they live in villages both in the south as well as in the east and west. Religiously, both the Turkish and the Kurdish Alevis seem to be related to the rebellious groups close to the Safavids. However, in his research on the Kurds, Martin van Bruinessen claims that most of today's Kurdish Alevis do not have ancestors who were Turkmens or belonged to the hosts of Isma'il; but rather, they were followers of other syncretic so called exaggerated (or extremist) sects. In the 16th century, there were several heterodox groups in Anatolia who had certain forms of contact with each other.
As the Safavid dynasty extended, two significant religious movements emerged among the groups mentioned above. In addition to beliefs influenced by tasavvuf, there also arose a view which was fıkıh oriented, probably because of the Safavid influence. Otherwise, there is no evidence of Shi'ism in Anatolia before the 16th century.
The identity struggle of the Alevis today is largely a question of the choice between a Sufi doctrine, which is grounded in the tasavvuf tradition, and imamet, which expresses the Shi'ia elements in Alevism. Interestingly enough, this choice continues to be a problem 400 years after the beginning of the Safavid indoctrination. The Shi'ia features are of great importance for the Alevi identity in the Sunni Muslim Turkish society.
The district from Gaziantep and Kahramanmaraş in the south through Adıyaman to Malatya and Sivas in the north is ethnically and religiously a very mixed area, consisting of a transitional zone from Turkish Kurdistan in the south-east to the rest of the country. Most of the clashes between the Sunni Muslims and the Alevis in the 1970s took place in this zone. The latter usually lived in relatively isolated mountain villages, which reflects their history of being persecuted under the Osman Empire. Only in the 1950s did the Alevis start to leave their villages to settle in towns in the region, or to move to the large cities in western Turkey.
The Sunni Muslims did not give up their prejudices against the Alevis, even when the country was secularised. The Alevis were accused of being sexually depraved and of leading an immoral life. When the Alevis were integrated into the wider society through urbanization, education and professional careers in the public sector, they came into closer contact with the Sunni Muslims. At times, the Alevis competed with the Sunnis over means of livelihood; the Alevis were partly therefore perceived as a threat towards those that they earlier had been totally isolated from. This caused tensions in the Anatolian society, particularly in the mixed areas of the smaller towns where different ethnic and religious groups lived side by side. However, problems also arose in the large cities of western Turkey. Newly arrived villagers settled where people with the same background lived, and thus distinctive Alevi quarters and housing areas occupied solely by Alevis were created. The political polarisation that accelerated in the 1970s aggravated the situation. The left defined the Alevi uprisings of the past as proto-communist events and regarded the Alevis as their allies. The fascists and the religious extreme right therefore tried to recruit conservative Sunni Muslims in the mixed regions, partly by spreading fear for and hatred against the Alevis. This provoked many violent incidents. Rumours of Alevi bombings of mosques, or of the Alevis having poisoned the drinking water resulted in many Sunni Muslims joining the extreme right-wing movement. A number of violent clashes culminated at the end of the 1970s with pogroms in Malatya, Kahramanmaraş and Çorum.
The state was moving away from Kemalian ideas of a secular, unified state with no classes and no ethnic or religious differences. A strong, albeit divided, Kurdish movement and a radical labour movement emerged at the end of the 1970s, at the same time as frequent clashes between Sunnis and Alevis took place - this signalled the end of Kemalism.
When Bülent Ecevit in 1972 took over leadership of the party Cumhuriyet Halk Fırkası/Partisi (CHP) founded by Kemal, it developed into a Social Democratic party. But as Alpaslan Türkeş was Vice Prime Minister in the 1970s, the youth organisation within his party, Milliyetçi Haraket Partisi (MHP) turned into the Grey Wolves, that is, "the Idealists" (ülkücüler), who came to represent the extreme right.
After the military coup in September 1980, the aim was to dispose of those who had instigated divisions in society. The radical left and the Kurdish movement was decimated, but Devrimci Sol (Dev Sol) and Par¬tiye Karkeran Kurdustan (PKK) survived by going underground. Through repression the military alienated the growing Kurdish population from state ideals and thus contributed to an increasing support of the PKK, despite rumours of violent actions.
At the turn of the year 1980, all leftist opinion was purged from the police force which thus came to be dominated by conservative Sunni Muslims and right-wing nationalists. On several occasions, the police participated in activities resulting in the murders of Alevis, which further widened the rift between the state and the Alevis. The extreme right was hardly ever punished for its actions. The fascist leader Alpaslan Türkeş was not arrested in the correct way, despite his being an accomplice to murder, and he was released without trial. This is explained by the fact that Türkeş's movement was integrated into the state machinery. Young right-wing extremists no longer needed to carry out secret raids against "communist tea-houses"; instead, they became policemen and school teachers, or were recruited to the special forces set up to fight against the Kurdish guerillas. In December 1991, Türkeş proclaimed war against eastern and south-eastern Anatolia. The official attitude towards Sunni Islam has, since 1980, constituted a major step away from the Kemalist tradition.
Apparently in order to compete with Islamist fundamentalism, the military actively developed its own version of Sunni Islam: the Türk-Islam Sentezi. This Turkish-Islam synthesis, a disordered doctrine combining intensive Turkish nationalism and Muslim opinions, was formulated by a small group of right-wing intellectuals as a response to socialism. Kenan Evren, leader of the 1980 military coup, sympathised with the synthesis and Turgut Özal, President of the country in 1989-1993, was another of its followers.
This amalgamation was actually given the force of official ideology and doctrine; it allowed President Evren (1980-1988) to combine the Koran with Mustafa Kemal's political ideas in his speeches. The synthesis legitimized the military regime; but civilian politicians also later exploited it for their own gain. They could regard themselves as real Turks with an Ottoman past and liked to use Kemalist symbols for their Western-influenced purposes.
As for the political arena and its development, the synthesis proved to be a less successful solution. All Turks did not strive for "Turkishness," and advocates for a "Westernising" process fought against those championing Islamisation for the leading position. The situation was such that when the description of the state political goals gained support from a certain group, it correspondingly provoked another group, which was thus excluded - which, in turn, resulted in reduced political participation. "Turkification excludes the Kurds and does not offer them any solution other than assimilation."
The study of religion, which earlier had been a voluntary subject, now became compulsory in all schools. Diyanet İşleri Müdürlüğü, the Board for Religious Matters, which, among other things, oversees the mosques in Turkey and abroad among Turks in the Diaspora, increased its power base. Several mosques were built and new Imams were appointed to oversee Alevi villages. The Government apparently tried to force the Alevis into the Sunni fold.
All the changes that took place in the 1980s resulted in a renewed interest in the Alevi identity and many Alevis started contemplating the Alevi religion. In the 1970s, young Alevis were fairly uninterested in religion; for them Alevism was a social movement. However, the leftist setbacks led many Alevis to first regard the Alevi affiliation as a cultural identity, and only later as a religious one. The leftist movements that were supported all over the country in the 1970s had lost most of their followers by the end of the 1980s. According to the media, the left was then a non-religious Alevi movement, but its members had started to reflect upon their Alevi identity. Many Alevis had earlier already reacted against the alliance with the Left and for a long time pondered their own religious tradition. Naturally, the state support of Sunni Islam was of great importance for the Alevi awakening. When the ban on religious movements that had been in total force since 1980 was somewhat relieved in 1989, Alevi societies developed in all parts of the country. Cem rituals, which had been forbidden since 1925, were carried out in public and places of worship (cemevi) were opened.
Alevi writings were published, where intellectual Alevis attempted to explain their history, Alevi doctrines and rituals - and they also wished to define the relation of the Alevis to Sunni Islam. Some books provoked heated discussions in the Alevi community as to whether Alevism is an Islamic sect or a religion of its own, and whether this separate religion is Iranian or Turkish, etc.
This development influenced the nature of Alevism and caused it to change. From having been a local, secret movement with initiation rites and an oral tradition that was known only to the select, Alevism suddenly became a formalised public religion with written doctrines and rituals. Most Alevis did not belong to the class of religious leaders who had always held a monopoly on ritual competence and claimed to possess superior knowledge of the tradition. Now, however, most had received a modern education and the new texts reflected the mentality dominating the educational system - all very Kemalian. Even now, changes are taking place as Alevi writers continue to reformulate the tradition and sometimes they express things in a way quite typical for followers of nationalist movements in the making.
This renaissance of Alevi identity and religion was encouraged by secular persons within the political establishment, particularly by politicians who have always regarded the Alevis as their friends in the struggle against political Islam. Politically, Alevis have existed across the whole spectrum of parties in Turkey. However, the party that has been most popular among the Alevis is he Social Democrat Cumhuriyet Halk Par¬tisi (CHP),which has had many Alevi delegates and representatives. In 1991, CHP became a subordinate party in the government coalition together with Doğru Yol Partisi (DYP, "the True Path Party") lead by Süleyman Demirel (later by Prime Minister Tansu Çiller)
Since many Alevi Kurds supported PKK at the end of the 1980s, the state authorities tried to stimulate "Alevism" as an alternative to Kurdish identity. At the beginning of the 1990s, the state openly supported the Alevis, for example by publicly sponsoring the annual festival celebrating Haci Bektaş Veli. In the 1970s, this festival was a gathering place for radicals; during in 1980s it gradually became less political and in the 1990s it got the support and protection of the Government. Now politicians from all parties participate in order to show how much they care about the Alevis.
During the 1990s, the state recognised the more conservative Alevis and their leaders were elected into the state apparatus; with their support the Turkey-based nationalism was to be strengthened. At the same time, many authorities were suspicious of the Alevis because of their earlier connections with the Left. There were many within the police force and in certain government departments who clearly demonstrated their contempt of Alevis. Nevertheless, many Alevis were gratified by the acknowledgement expressed in the fact that Alevis were elected into the political establishment. Hacı Bektaş came to be a symbol for loyalty to the Turkish state. During the initial stages of the state, many Alevis in the countryside had actually whispered that Mustafa Kemal was an incarnation of Hacı Bektaş. Historically, the Bektaşi movement played an important role in integrating heterodox religious groups and so called troublemakers into the Osman Empire. This Sufi order strongly supported Mustafa Kemal during the War of Independence and, as indicated above, during the first years of the Republic Kemal was perceived by many religious Alevis as an reincarnation of Hacı Bektaş.
Around 1990 this theme was revived and an Alevi author presented Haci Bektaş as a proto-nationalist; some called him ülkücü ("idealist", a term that extreme natio¬nalists and fascists in the Türkeş party has earlier monopolised, see footnote 18 above).
The nationalist discourse prevalent in the country has influenced both Kurdish and Turkish Alevis. Many of the Kurdish Alevis have sided with the Kurdish nationalists and among the Turkish Alevis there have been expressions of Turkish nationalism and even racism. These political choices are totally alien to the Alevi tradition.
Going back to the mid-1990s, there were no Alevis who would have emphasized that they were Turkish or Kurdish - an ethnic-national identity did not matter - they belonged to Alevilik, which was regarded as a religious community. Now, it is often the case that common symbols are defined according to ethnic traits in discussions dealing with the nation. Hacı Bektaş, who is the protector of the Alevis, is also the patron saint of Turkish nationalists. Therefore, those who place their Kurdish identity above their Alevi identity have made the rebel and poet Pir Sultan Abdal their sym¬bolic protector.
The rebel saint Pir Sultan Abdal (1510/1514-1589/1590) lived in Banaz, a village in the Sivas ¬province, and he was hanged in the city of Sivas. When the Pir Sultan Abdal Association organized a cultural festival there in July 1993, the city was made their meeting place. Sivas is one of the provinces with a large Alevi population, both Turkish and Kurdish-speaking, but the towns in the province are dominated by conservative Sunni Muslims.
The festival was opposed by means of aggressive demonstrations, staged by the ultra right movement and reactionary Sunni Muslims. They demolished a statue of Pir Sultan Abdal that had been erected by the festival organisers. Instead of being calmed, the mob was egged on by a speech given by the Mayor (who belonged to the right-wing party for Muslim welfare). The demonstrators surrounded a hotel where festival participants were staying; they then attacked the hotel and threw stones and burning rags through the windows. The agitated mob set the hotel on fire and 37 people were killed in the flames.
This confrontation in Sivas differed from the attacks against the Alevis in the late 1970s; it was not a massive assault on Alevi neighbourhoods. Probably Aziz Nesin and some intellectual Alevis were the main targets, as was the statue of Pir Sultan, above all as a symbol for the Alevi leftist tradition and the Kurds. In this context, the actions of the local police and the civil authorities that were part of the demonstrators are of great significance, as is the Government's inability/unwillingness to neutralise the powers that were on the move.
The Mayor openly sympathised with the demonstrators and the police did not in any way try to scatter them or hinder them from reaching the hotel; neither did they take any noticeable action when the hotel caught fire. When the hotel was surrounded, Aziz Nesin and some of his friends managed to reach the Vice Prime Minister Erdal Inönü by phone. He answered that an order had already been sent to Sivas that the festival participants were to be protected. This order had no effect whatsoever. A police film of the events, which happened to reach the press, shows that the police received orders over the radio not to stop the demonstrators as they attacked the hotel. Most policemen just stood and watched as the hotel burned. Nevertheless, some did help and a policeman happened to save Aziz Nesin. However, when others among the police noticed this, they started beating the exhausted man; nevertheless, he was protected by others and taken to hospital.
The tension between the Government and the Alevis increased further when the police and Alevis clashed in the Gazi area of Istanbul in March 1995. This is a poor area with a large Alevi population. On the evening of 12 March armed men drove a stolen taxi through the neighbourhood and fired directly into five different tea-houses. One person was killed and several wounded. The police took a long time arriving at the scene and might very well have been involved in the incident. As a reaction to this, crowds of people gathered and young people took over the streets in protest against the attack.
Youth gangs started demonstrating outside the police headquarters in the areas that were governed by right-wing extremists and policemen who were against Alevis. Recently, an Alevi held in custody at the headquarters had been tortured to death. There were clashes between Alevis and policemen everywhere in the area. Shops were destroyed and the police shot a demonstrator, which also caused unrest in neighbouring areas of the city. Youngsters threw stones at the police and built barricades, while sensible Alevi leaders tried to calm the masses. Instead of using conventional methods, the police lost their heads and fired into the crowds, killing 15 more people. The patronizing language used by the police shouting at the Alevi leaders who were trying to mediate, shows that the actions of many policemen were based on an intense hatred against Alevis. However, there were also policemen who attempted to hold back their colleagues, but did not succeed in doing so.
Both the hotel fire in Sivas and the clashes in Istanbul reveal that the state sided with the attackers. The authorities of the central government had no control over the police force, which since 1980 had consisted of extreme right-wing Sunni Muslims. So, Turkish society was deeply divided; the rift was also splitting the Government, whose conservative members said outright that it was the fault of Aziz Nesin that the arson in Sivas had taken place. Earlier in the year, Nesin had announced that he was going to translate Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses into Turkish, which was taken as provocation in Islamist circles.
Today's Alevis strongly oppose the idea of an Islamist state. A majority supports social democratic politics, but after the massacres in Sivas, new alternatives have emerged. The political agenda includes, for example, a suggestion of an Alevi party.
The events mentioned above supported a revival and radicalized the Alevi process of renewal. Alevi leaders who try to co-operate with the state authorities have lost the support of the people. Young Alevis today are radical and the Government's attempts to present the Alevi identity as an alternative to Kurdish nationalism has failed. The alienation created by the clashes brought the Alevis closer to the PKK, even if Kurdish Alevis, up to 1991, rarely sympathised with the separatist party. The state's close relations to the Sunni majority had in 1994 resulted in many Alevis giving the PKK their support. All the same, a majority of the Alevis define themselves primarily as Alevis and only secondly as Kurds. State-supported publications emphasize, however, that Alevism is a special Turkish form of Islam and that all Alevis essentially are Turks. Kurdish nationalists therefore try to convince Alevis that the most important identity is the Kurdish one, and that the Alevi religion is part of an Iranian, Zoroastric tradition, rather than of Turkish origin. Thus, Turkish Alevis are also religiously more closely related to Kurds that to Turks. Even Zaza-speaking Kurds, of whom some are Alevis and others Shafi'it Sunni Muslims, started to voice nationalist feelings in the 1990s, even if those who speak this Dimili language (which belongs to the Pahlawâni group) have never formed a distinct ethnic group. The general trend is that in the areas where Alevis have been murdered by Sunnis it does not matter whether one is Kurd or Turk, since the primary identity is the religious one.
Today, many Alevis with socialist views regard members of the PKK as their allies, since the Alevis face extreme right-wing political forces which strongly influence the actions of the Government. The members of the conservative, religious and ultra-nationalist block are not interested in cultural and religious pluralism, and they counteract compromises with both Kurds and Alevis. In its struggle to create a monolithic state and a uniform society, this political block is the most disruptive force in present day Turkey.
Already the results from the 1995 elections showed that identity politics are the current issue in Turkey. The three parties which then represented different group identities - the Fazilet Partisi which stood for an Islamis¬t identity, the Milliyetçi Haraket Partisi representing the ultra-nationalist Turkish identity and Halkın Demokrasi Partisi that officially functioned as the mouthpiece for the Kurds - obtained approximately one third of all the votes. The growing interest among the Alevis in their Alevi identity is also underlined, while at the same time, the important role of the Alevis for Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) is mentioned.
"The Alevis" in the definite form is an example of an Alevi self-image in the Diaspora. Thus, when I write of "the Alevis", I am influenced by those living here in Sweden, since it is the expression of something impossible except as a self-representation created by Alevis outside of Turkey (or by those who know European languages). This is so, because there is no definite article in the Turkish language.
Can it be the case that this definite form, used in the self-description of Alevis in the Netherlands and Sweden, reflects the hopes for the existence of a form that denotes something known by its characteristics, that is, the hope for such a form being a reality? The definite form seems to be the means by which the Alevis with a distance to the authoritative state can create a discourse which is also conveyed through their actions: - We are the carriers of a definite form!

Deviance is not an absolute phenomenon; cultures are reshaped and symbolic-moral borders change (or remain stable). Agreements pertaining to the character of morality are compiled with rules deciding how power is to be executed and what is legitimized as power when a nation state is being created.
What legitimizes power is a moral order that also defines the borders between various symbolic-moral worlds in society. Behavioural patterns demonstrated and acts taking place at the limits, where different worlds border on each other, are seen as problematic and insulting, and therefore they challenge both power and morality. Such acts labelled as problematic are deviant and political. Deeds that directly and explicitly challenge the social order, or are aimed against the power and morality of the central government, are politically deviant behaviour.
What, then, constitutes deviant behaviour? Generally speaking, deviance is a breach of norms, but it can also be a sociological construction of an analytical concept. Deviance is connected to changes in symbolic universes.
When a certain etiquette is created, that is, a convincing social construction which people adopt and use (this could take the form of labelling that which is deviant), there are some features that determine whether the construction manages to effectively claim that this or that particular incident constitutes deviant behaviour. The group passing judgment must, for example, possess enough power to enforce their definition and version of morality on others. This is a process that underlines and accentuates the borders between different symbolic-moral worlds. Negotiations on the moral significance of rhetorical ideas are a continuous process between the deviant and the community in which he or she lives and acts. From an analytical perspective, deviance is always a consequence of agreements reached concerning morality and the way in which power relations are shaped.
According to this viewpoint, deviance is a relative phenomenon, a subjective experience and an intentional act. Even if there are norms that seem universal and not relative, for example that it is forbidden to kill another person, there are rhetoric notions (such as "blood feud") which justifies and explains why somebody's life has been taken against the will of that person; there are also ritual situations that occasionally are termed vendettas, human sacrifice or duels. Some car accidents are also classified as "the taking of another person's life"; the police kill sometimes "in self-defence", and then there are those who regard abortion as murder. So, it seems to be the case that the rationalisation of these acts is something conditioned. Both theft and swindling are also relative concepts. In other words, it is generally difficult to draw any hard and fast moral borders as to what is right and wrong, suitable and unsuitable. Power and morality are used to mark socially constructed differences between various groups.
In Turkey, there are several symbolic-moral worlds; one world negotiates with another and within each community the members negotiate amongst themselves. These negotiations are expressed through, for example, criminalization and stigmatization.
Deviant behaviour is a central element in a functioning society. In politics, deviance clearly brings about social change. When it comes to power and moral politics, deviant behaviour can maintain specific symbolic-moral universes through the depiction of particular behavioural patterns as bad, evil, contaminating and impure. However, analyses of political deviance and political elements present in that which is deviant show that deviance is often connected to processes of change. A questioned behaviour can be used during a process of nation building to construct the imagined community within which new personal and national identities and moral borders are shaped.

It is the combination of power and morality which lies at the basis of what is defined as deviance and what is not. The eternal play between competing moral entrepreneurs, the symbolic moral universes which they help to create, define, and maintain (and in which they are trapped), and the power which they are able to generate, mobilize, and utilize - these have always deter¬mined the demarcation between deviance and non-deviance.

It is not necessarily the powerful that ascribe the powerless with a deviant behaviour; it might just as easily be the case that a group with no actual power persuades those belonging to another sphere, another symbolic-moral universe, that we do this in the name of God, and thus power is generated and an agreement on morality is created. Moral universes and moral borders,
In Turkey, the Sunni Muslim majority regard themselves as being the wardens of the righteous symbolic-moral universe and its borders, even if the society is officially secularised.
Collective deviance refers to the fact that members of some categories of people stigmatise all members of a certain other category, simply because of the affiliation of these group members. This is partly a question of Erving Goffman's stigma types. It is, of course, not politically correct to ascribe "deviance" to a minority group, but nevertheless the Alevis in Turkey are pointed out as deviant. Stigma "can be transmitted through lineages and equally contaminate all members of a family". What he calls "the tribal stigma of religion" does not only pertain to religion as a belief system, but also in the sense of "belonging to a religious category" - a group status - regardless of individual beliefs. "Religion", according to Goffman's tribal stigma, belongs to a categorical way of thinking, which some use to typify some or all persons that the label can be applied to. In this case, deviant behaviour is a quality not attached to an individual but to an entire collective. A person is deviant because he or she belongs to a certain group, the membership of which is stigmatizing.
Moral panic, society's reaction to deviance, often has quite obscure reasons. Politicians, writers and representatives of the majority religion do not react as rats in a laboratory on arbitrary stimuli - they react on the basis of positions, status, interests, ideologies and values. Their way of reacting to rumour is not only related to the rumour itself and its message; the crucial thing is whether the rumours can provide support to their own special interests.
Morality is connected to unity and solidarity with one's own people, in this case the Turks. Turkishness is an identity that implies Sunni Muslim affiliation. Those who choose another belief are disloyal to the Turkish state. Greeks, Jews and Armenians have been acknowledged since the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, but Alevis are not yet accepted; they are regarded as deviant. The lack of norms ascribed to the Alevis by the Sunni majority forms the basis for the moral panic that the massacres in the Kahramanmaraş province are an expression of. Lack of norms, or anomie, which is described by Robert Merton in his article "Social Structure and Anomie" (1938), is a problem already suggested by Durkheim in Suicide (1897).
According to Merton's functionalist perspective, deviant behaviour can be evoked by disturbed circles, that is, because the order in society is upset. Disturbances in the traditional social order lead to anomie, which results in some people displaying deviant behaviour. When the Alevis moved into towns, having made money on their small farms, they were labelled as abnormal. When they adopted socialist politics they were regarded as deviant: "social structures exert a definite pressure upon certain persons in the society to engage in non-con¬forming rather than conforming conduct."
In the eyes of Durkheim, opposite is true: the anomie disturbs the social order, creating a situation where there are no norms, when convention is no longer able to control people's behaviour. Durkheim thought that when norms were dissolved, people behaved in any way they pleased. But Merton's view of anomie is totally different: deviance does not emerge because society lacks norms and is weakened, on the contrary, a society with strict moral rules can actually provoke deviant behaviour. When two perceptions, or spheres, are set up against each other as mutually exclusive alternatives, anomie can be discerned in a disjunction between culturally defined goals and structurally available opportunities.
The Alevis had their own religious, cultural system and their own places of worship, but the Sunni Muslim culture and mosques were forced on them. They are Merton's rebels - through another religion they abandon the mosque, the holy central pillar of the town, and place themselves on the political left, against all the established norms of the town-dwellers. When the means of the majority are totally different from those of the minority, it does not matter if they have the same goal. Deviant behaviour is that which does not conform to the institutionalized expectations of the majority.
Since the Alevis were not greeted with open arms by the suspicious Sunni Muslims in the towns, they kept to themselves. They were not very successful in the traditional sector; the conservative forces of society forced them to take a stance against the existing order, which happened by choosing a socialist line, and this was perceived as deviant behaviour. But positivism, represented by Merton, is related to essentialism, and the approach becomes rigid. The borders are not so clear in reality; the differences are not so easy to point out.
Conservative observers think that the sociology of deviance is an untenable way of studying social transgression. This is so because we know what is bad through our own tradition. Thus, in Sunni Muslim society it is regarded as deviant not to attend Friday prayers, not to follow the Five Pillars of Islam, etc.
But the sociology of deviance is not about defining evil; deviance is that which is regarded as wrong, not what is fundamentally wrong. Sociological theories on deviance explore that which is represented as deviant: "deviance is a universal, trans-cultural, trans-histori¬cal concept." Societies institutionalize rules for correct behaviour and indicate what is incorrect behaviour; those who break the rules are punished. The Alevis are regarded as collectively deviant: "Collective deviance simply means that one is automatically discredited as a result of belonging to a racial, national, ethnic, and religious category of humanity."
In a society that has been "forcibly secularised", many believers appear to be very conservative in religious matters. They are very quick to condemn that which is "different".
"The ordinary Sunni Muslim believes that his way of life, his beliefs and his religious practice constitute the certain and correct path (sırat-ı müstakim), since they are based on the holy book, the words and deeds of the prophet, the interpretations of religious scholars (ulema) and the consent of the Muslim community at large (ümmet). The traditional belief is that these have not changed for centuries." Since hadith and içtihad are based on divine inspiration, the unchanged tradition is holy. All changes that have been imposed by the state the Imams have simply disregarded; this is a case of a kind of quiet disobedience: people continue to practice Islam in the traditional way, regardless of what the state theologians say. Conservative Imams say what the people want to hear: "that they should go on doing what they presumably have always done, that this is prescribed by Islam."
When the nationalist and secularist Zekeriya Beyaz, Professor of Theology, suggested a law that chickens could be sacrificed during the religious festival of Kurban, the Imams in the mosques read from a book of interpretations made by Kemal's chosen theologian Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen Hodja. Only sheep, goats, camels and cows can be sacrificed, while chickens, hens and geese must not be sacrificed; offering them as sacrifice is religiously abominable (mekruh), since such customs are reminiscent of those that the Mecusis (this refers to Zoroastric traditions and indirectly to Alevis) practice. Chicken sacrifice is a Mecusi custom! By laying claim to a general custom, supported by references to Kemal's theologian, the Imam can satisfy the people without irritating the state authorities. The rites of the religion must not be renewed

Rumours and gossip
When the Alevis settled in the small towns in the Kah¬ramanmaraş province bringing with them habits which were totally different from those of the Sunnis, they disturbed the order. However, it was the rumours of immorality, in combination with the communist label, which egged reactionary Sunni Muslim groups on to violent action.

Collective behavior is defined as behavior that is relatively spontaneous, volatile, evanescent, emergent, extra-institutional, and short-lived; it emerges or operates in situations in which there are no, or few adequate, clearcut definitions as to what to do from mainstream culture. Collective behavior operates outside the stable, patterned structures of society; it reflects the "maverick" side of human nature. Compared with conventional, everyday life, collective behavior is less inhibited and more spontaneous, more changeable and less structured, shorter-lived and less stable.

In Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972), Stanley Cohen mentions that certain forms of collective behaviour are significant for moral panic: mass hysterics , misconceptions within a large group, catastrophes and collapses following such, riots, crowds and throngs, slander, rumours, and legends.
A rumour is both a process and a product, a catalyst that accelerates the process of collective behaviour and a kind of collective behaviour in its own right. It is, on the one hand, a mechanism that characterizes collective behaviour, an on the other, an example of such behaviour. Rumours are commonly regarded as narratives that per definition are false, but researchers do not define a rumour on the basis of its possible incorrectness, or based on the contents of the rumour at all, but on the lack of evidence, since rumours are unconfirmed accusations. The definition of rumour is that it is passed on without documentation of reliable facts. Rumours might certainly be verified or falsified at a later point in time, but the important aspect here is that rumours per definition are unconfirmed. Rumour is hearsay, rumours are narrated, regarded as true and passed on, not because of the proof presented, but because those spreading the rumours expect the narratives to be true.
Four factors ease the spreading process: (1) topicality (the subject is seen as important) and that the result is relevant for the one who lets him or herself be involved in the spreading of rumours; (2) uncertainty and ambiguity; (3) personal fear or worry; (4) gullibility or credulity.
When gullible people feel afraid of a certain group, because the situation is ambiguous and uncertain, and the contents of the rumour are such that what is said might possibly worsen the life situation of those who hear it, they probably believe it. Generally speaking, a story of something insignificant (having less important consequences) is not a source for speculation. Rumours about events that do not matter for the hearer, that do not affect his or her life, are seldom passed on. For example, Swedes do not spread rumours about the price of camels in Afghanistan, since we do not care about how much a camel costs there. Thus, rumours grow and spread at high speed under certain conditions, particularly when the subject being aired is of great significance for those who engage in the spreading of the rumour.
Often the context is problematic, the rumour deals with something that is not familiar and the uncertainty makes the rumour-spreaders unsure. Worry and anxiety are both personal and structural; some people worry more easily than others and certain circumstances create more general worry than others do. "Rumor flies on fear." Anxious people tend to pass on rumours, compared with more secure people, who do not do this to the same extent. Additionally, more rumours are spread in unpleasant situations than normally, and are then perceived as credible.
A person, who believes in the claims of others without any reflection, is also keen to pass on what is being said, since he or she does not want to appear sceptical and critical. Rumours appear to be the truth to the gullible. Those who are sceptical and question the truthfulness of hearsay are the enemies of rumour.
The Sunni Muslims in Kahramanmaraş were very ignorant about the ways and customs of the Alevis, which naturally contributed to their uncritical attitude when rumours were being spread. Gossip can be seen as improvised news that is spread when information is lacking. News flying about is symptomatic of people trying to solve problems that befall their own community; rumours help them cope with things that they feel insecure about.
Tamnotsu Shibutani, who studied rumour in the 1960s, looked for cognitive and rational factors. When a subject was fairly uninteresting and not very exciting, people were quite critical and scrutinized the sources of the rumours spreading, but when they were keen to know something and the news information was nonexistent, they had a great unsatisfied need. The subjective excitement was then strong and the interest enormous; in such circumstances many improvised and rumours appeared spontaneously - any sources would do.
But Goode and Ben-Yehuda think that a rumour is an irrational process, since rumours represent people's need to get their deeply rooted opinions and notions verified; it is not a question of exploring concrete facts. Rumours often confirm affiliation and virtue for those who are insiders and victimise somebody else; those who are outsiders are exploited and made the object of malice.
Moral panic is something that hinders people from making critical judgements. In the midst of moral panic people perceive the supposed threat as being directed against them personally, but they are unsure of its exact significance. The Others (who are perceived as threatening) make the anxious people suspicious, which results in those who are worrying wanting more information on the threatening than is available - therefore they lower the threshold and become less critical towards rumour.
For example, religious fundamentalists are inclined to believe that devil-worshippers sexually abuse children and kill a lot of children every year. Agnostics, atheists and religious sceptics do not have the same tendency to spread rumours about Satanists. Rumour-spreaders often have a low level of education, live in the countryside, are more traditional and worry about the secular trends in society, such as women working outside the home. Here, we can see parallels with the Sunni Muslims in the Anatolian towns.
Individuals in ethnically divided communities tend to see the other ethnic group as threatening, and rumours about what the Others have done to members of their own group are common.
"Rumor is one of the basic processes that both fuels and is fueled by the moral panic. A moral panic sets the stage and provides a context for rumormongering; when rumors take place, they provide the justification for fears, exaggeration, and a sense of threat. Rumor is a vital element in the moral panic. It is one of the reasons why moral panic must be regarded as a form of collective behaviour."
When there is a difference in power between two mutually dependent and interacting groups, this disparity contributes to the creation of a notion of different moral values of the groups. Persons who possess power see themselves as being better, that is more moral, than people who do not have power. The established group tries to force a definition on the other group, of both their own insider group and the other, representing outsiderness. Power differences between groups are, according to this argument, produce different levels of moral status. According to Norbert Elias, it is "the way in which outsiders are treated that explains why some of them come to act and behave in precisely the ways that are morally encumbering.
Elias describes a kind of group charisma, attached to one's own group, and a group shame, ascribed to those who are outsiders. The superior majority with power tries to get the minority to realize that they lack the virtues of the insider group, and that they therefore are morally inferior.
The higher value that the established group regards themselves as having is set against the Others' group shame. An emotional barrier obstructs contact with the outsider group; for generation after generation there might be a taboo against any closer relations, but changes can create a "counter-stigmatisation in a power struggle where the difference slowly shrinks".
By ascribing superior qualities to their own group, the majority motivates a social exclusion of the Others. By using rumour and banning contacts isolation is maintained, "the group's ability to stay unified is the basis for its power... [and] the moral differentiation plays an important part for both establishing and maintaining power differences".
Elias' thoughts can be summarised in the following theses:

a) an imbalance in the power relation between two groups who are closely dependent on each other creates a hierarchy of moral valuation of the groups and their members;
b) the moral valuation of the groups is central to the (power) relation between them;
c) the ascribing of moral value is a central mechanism for upholding the superiority of the established group and for creating and maintaining the inferiority and lower status of the subordinate group;
d) the symptoms of human inferiority that a powerful, established group tends to perceive in a subordinate outsider group are the behaviours and features that are created by the very outsiderness and the oppression and inferiority thus following.

As in Winston Parva (in the study that Elias uses as his basis for the analysis of insiders and outsi¬ders), a valuation and stigmatising process is also discernible in the Kahramanmaraş province.
"The newcomers were seen as a threat to established norms, values and ways of life, including behavioural codes. By excluding the newcomers, the established confirmed their own identity, created differences in the notions of the groups, while at the same time the unity was the power resource that enabled the maintaining of the differences."
Charisma stands against dishonour and shame, and contacts with members of the immoral minority were impossible for the Sunni Muslims in Kahramanmaraş in 1978, since this would have constituted a threat against an individual's position in his or her own group. According to Elias' argument, people can be "subjected to 'contact contamination', since the outsider group by definition is supposed to have a lower moral status. The categories by which the outsider group is described are as such strong expressions of subordination and shaming".
In line with Elias' description, on Alevis in the eyes of Sunnis: "…their behaviour got the old inhabitants to feel that each closer contact with them might threaten their own position, drag them down to a lower level of status both in their own eyes and those around them, harm the prestige of the neighbourhood with all the instances of pride and satisfaction that it offered."
A complex weave of unity and interaction based on practices created power relations between the established majority in Kahramanmaraş and a minority that had moved to the town from mountain villages. If we regard charisma as a kind of risk, religion is important and makes social interaction predictable. Elias often disregards religion in his extensive explanation of the civilization process, but this does not make his argument less convincing, since the paradigms of the figurations still include religious institutions. I turn to religion in order to find an answer to the question as to what "Alevi" is.

The Alevis - a closely united group?
Alevilik is the name of a community where membership is defined through origins. It stands for a strong, special collective identity, and seen from a formalist perspective, the Alevis demonstrate characteristics that are often used when identifying an ethnic group. In this essay, I use the term Alevism for the Turkish Alevilik, which is also translated as Alevitism. The term carries both ideological and sociological meanings: Alevilik is a belief system, it is a particular community; earlier, the term also represented leftist opinions, which today are no longer characteristic of Alevis.
Once more, it needs to be emphasized that a more religiously defined identity was set aside during the 1970s, and replaced by socialism. In the beginning of the 1980s, Alevis were not mentioned at all; the military coup in 1980 contributed to erasing Alevilik from the public mind. Since the late 1980s, a process of restructuring is going on, which initially was a community revival in Turkish media, and Alevis in the Diaspora published their own newspapers (in German, English, Dutch and French).
The Alevis are seeking their identity in a political climate coloured by conservative Sunni Muslim values. The worry that the Alevis experienced because of the increasing Islamisation of Turkish society made them look for ideological alternatives, placing their hopes in universalist ideas of the Enlightenment. Many Alevi leaders, who earlier were engaged in the socialism then associated with the so called Third World, have found it problematic to address Post-Modern ideologies. Representatives of the community, who had universalist ideas, became increasingly aware of the conflicting interests between their explicit universalist orientation and the particular form of an Alevi renaissance that they were fighting for. This resulted in political irresolution. At this stage of the development, the religious identity and the new ethno-political identities were set against each other.
Generally speaking, three different standpoints dominate the Alevilik debate. The traditional religious elite regard Alevilik as the true form of Islam, but because of the old Turkish-Iranian conflicts, representatives of the elite want to clean Alevilik of Shi'ia elements and shape the religion in a more Sunni-oriented direction. This view of Alevism contains certain conditions the need to be fulfilled if Alevilik is to be openly acknowledged, for example, the Alevis must recognize the Five Pillars of Islam and men must attend Friday prayers at Sunni Muslim mosques.
Another group defines Alevilik as a secularised belief based on folkloristic elements. The adherents of this view see Alevism as an ethno-political unity alongside Sunnis and Shi'is.
The third standpoint is based on the opinions of a coalition between modern and traditional Alevis. The heterodox and syncretic structure of Alevilik is important; the community does not stand for "a secular belief", nor is it an expression of "true Islam". It is, however, problematic to pass on an eclectic tradition, a theosophy which earlier has only been transmitted orally. Thus, the migration into towns gave rise to the need for an Alevi theology. Some advocate association with the teachings of the Bektaşi order, since Alevis and Bektaşi members have historically always been connected; others go one step further and think that a bridge between Alevis and Sunni Muslims can be built with the aid of Bektaşi Sufism.
Alevis who look for their identity in adjacent religions (Sunni or Shi'ia), the first standpoint described above, will probably be integrated into one of those two religions and religious communities.
The Alevilik now being formed is, to a large extent, a matter of the definition of who actually is an Alevi. Traditionally, members are born into the community, and those wanting to establish an ethno-political community think it would be easier to let origins set the socio-political basis. But should those external to the group who refer to the Declaration of Human Rights regard Alevilik as a separate unit? These Alevis do, after all, define Alevilik in accordance with universal values. Such questions cause problems in the debate. Those trying to combine traditional and modern values also have their dilemmas. By defining Alevilik as a belief system, they can easily distinguish between Alevis and non-Alevis, but many Alevis are not religious believers and they see Alevilik as something universal. All those who want to define themselves as Alevis should have the right to do so; if a belief is the basis of existence and a distinctive character, non-religious Alevis are deprived of the Alevi identity.
When identity suddenly becomes a matter of self-definition, all leaders who are seen as having inherited their position, are threatened. If anybody can become an Alevi, soon anybody can become leader. Many of the clergy therefore underline the importance of origins. By emphasizing concepts such as "true religion" and the pure line that, according to tradition, goes back to 'Ali, those in authority underline that their leadership is legitimate and that their position cannot be questioned. This argument is interesting for the discussion about an allegiance between Alevis and Bektaşi members. Bektaşi is a Sufi Order and membership is voluntary; Alevis and Sufis previously had totally different social, cultural and religious identities.
The Bektaşi Order had its members in larger and smaller cities; the Sufis often came from a middle-class background, but also from lower classes. When starting to consciously look for an identity, many Alevis joined Sufi fraternities - Alevi-Bektaşilik was an increasingly common name for the alliance. However, there were practical problems, since the Bektaşi members elect their leaders in accordance with the fact that the Sufis reject the idea of inherited leadership.
Furthermore, the Alevis had always been organised around the home and oriented towards the private sphere. However, because of the political development in Turkey, its future membership of the European Union, etc., the Alevis have become more extrovert. Today, politically active Alevis are turning to non-Alevis calling for their attention. Some claim that both Sunni Muslims and Christians have converted to Alevilik - which is perceived as provocative information by conservative Sunni Muslims.
Despite their differences, the Alevis are close to the Bektaşi when it comes to matters of faith, and the heritage from many religions (that are layered in Anatolia) survive in their common beliefs:

Apart from an advanced pantheism (which is shared by many Sufi movements), Gnostic thoughts were also included. For example, belief in transmigration seems to have been very common. Depending on one's merits, after death one's soul could either be elevated to the spiritual world, or enter an animal with characteristics similar to one's own. There were also traces of old Turkish Shamanism, in the form of certain taboo animals, for example the hare and the bear. From a social perspective the Bektashi Order was unique in the Islamic world in that it allowed women to be included as full members and partake in the rituals on an equal basis. Outsiders regarded this as utterly shocking, and it gave rise to rumours about unspeakable orgies.

The identity now being shaped is, to a large extent, based on religion. When the Alevis lived in mountain village in central Anatolia, they could convey antagonistic messages of a religious nature orally, whereas today written texts are required and this changes the circumstances. If they leave out inherited leadership in order to merge with the Bektaşi more permanently, the Alevis probably have better prospects of being accepted into Turkish national politics. But if they hold on to imamet, meaning that the clergy is divinely enlightened and pure, and descended from Mohammed and 'Ali, they will be regarded as Shi'ia Muslims. This, in turn, implies a closer allegiance with Iran than with the Turkish state, which will worsen the Alevis' situation in Turkey. Thus, it is of great importance for their future whether velayet or imamet is to be the basis for Alevi leadership. Through personal effort, an individual can become a veli or a perfect man or woman (insan-ı kamil) with direct knowledge of God. In this context, pertaining to the concept of velayet, the principle of lineage is irrelevant.
In fact, the unified group is a new invention and perhaps only an illusory construction. Nevertheless, this possible unity is always emphasised. "In spite of this potential unity, the Alevis today appear extremely diverse. Their costumes, nomenclature, dances, prayers, rites and even annual ritual calendar often differ substantially among groups and locations. They have no church, no codified doctrine, no accepted clergy and no schools teaching Alevi customs. There is, though, a certain underlying compatibility." But it is precisely this prospect of unity that scares the Sunni Muslims. There is a great number of Alevis, and if they succeed in creating a common doctrine based on the oral tradition, they constitute a threat against the Sunni Muslim majority. The Alevilik principle must therefore be nipped in the bud.
The new Alevism that has emerged with the urbanisation process creates uncertainty among conservative Sunni Muslims. The violence in focus here is mainly physical, but the issue at stake is also power in a more abstract sense. In his German publications, Elias used the word Gewalt which denotes violence, assault, power and coercion, but can also be connected with the state and staatsrechtliche phenomena, as in Gewaltente¬ilung and Gewaltentrennung. There is an implicit message here, indicating that the legislative power and the executive (violent) one, as the judicial one, are separated . Elias often refers to violation and offence of physical integrity when he uses the term "violence". The number of people involved in the violent acts is significant; violence is often connected with group norms and transgressions, and with 'we-images'. When the violence pertains to identification with a leading group, or an established opposition, such as the Alevis, it is political violence. The we-image can be tied to the nation state and the feeling of guilt aroused by violence against an ethnic group is then seen as existing on a national level - as when all Germans were accused of the Nazi holocaust of Jews.
Elias asks whether an act of violence is carried out as the result of a rational choice made by the violent person to realise a plan, that is, whether the violence is instrumental, or whether the act of violence is emotionally satisfactory as such, that is, an expressive phenomenon.
I address similar questions in my study of the massacres in Maraş. According to Elias, the civilization process is dependent on the control of violence: landowners, who are involved in a process concerning competition, try to eliminate each other by violence, in order for the violence then to be controlled by those in power. However, power is based on relations, and a mutual dependence between the two groups in Kahramanmaraş developed, even if the relation involved no shared rules or norms. An antagonistic relation is a kind of functional interdependence. When Alevis became neighbours and competitors of the Sunni Muslims, the spreading of rumours accelerated. "Collective fantasies have to be understood in the context of fluctuating power relations...the workings of we-images and we-ideals stand out most sharply when fantasy and reality fall apart."
The acts carried out by one group are not understandable unless we refer to the action of the other group. In conflicting circumstances there is a dynamic that can lead to violence, and the mutual dependence reveals a processual structure. When the established and the outsiders lack common norms and do not use the same means to reach their religious goals, plans and actions within both groups are governed by the imaginative descriptions of the threat constituted by the other group; this also involves the frightening power resources of "the Others".
Elias calls a situation where two groups are connected by their suspicion of each other a double bind.

Such circular processes result from a lack of control over natural or social processes, the dynamics of which are relatively or completely autonomous from the wishes and intentions of those involved with them. A lessening or lack of human control over any set of events will increase the tendency for people's thinking about such events to involve a higher emotional and fantasy content; and the more emo¬tional their thinking becomes, the less able they are to formulate more realistic or adequate models of these events.

In order to explain the socio-genesis of violence, Elias uses the concepts of "social habitus" and "national identity". The traditional habitus of the Alevis, their outer appearance, has lived on in their social habitus. However, the social organization that once created the Alevi lifestyle, the customs that are not shaped by the Turkish nation state (that is, relations typical of groups living isolated in the mountains), came to be influenced by the unequal relations of dependence that developed in the towns after the Alevi settled there. The changes naturally include conflicts, and these function as an intermediate stage for the transition from one level of integration to another. The ethnic group, which by the Sunni Muslims is called "Mountain Turks" or "Tribal People", was to be remoulded into supporters of the Turkish nation state through a civilisation process. But they resisted; the men did not want to attend Friday prayers at the mosque and the Alevis struggled to maintain their own customs and habits. Conflicts between the established and the outsiders emerged at an early stage.

The established and the outsiders
Gossip always has two poles; one consisting of those who gossip and the other of those who are being gossiped about. When the subject and the object belong to two different groups, the frame of reference is not only that of the group gossiping, but also the situation and structure of both groups, as well as the relation between the groups. This wider frame of reference is necessary for us to understand that rumour is an efficient method which is being used by some to offend and humiliate members of another group, and to secure their own advantage and superiority.
The things being said by those doing the gossiping are, to a large extent, untrue, but those being gossiped about find it difficult to correct misunderstandings and are seldom able to openly confront false accusations. Those singled out as shameful and addressed with derogatory names can seldom return the accusations and retaliate with the same means as they form an oppressed minority. The group lacks power. But when exploring the rumour configuration on a deeper level, personal opinions can be discerned in parallel with the organisational aspect (which, for example, reveals that Sunni Muslims hold all key positions, meaning that the network of the majority is the one that counts).
The phenomenon of individuals being either blamed or praised because they belong to a group which is blamed or praised exists all over the world. Those being harassed cannot retaliate, since even if they personally are innocent of what they are being accused of, they do not want to give up their group identity. Slander and abuse trigger a feeling a guilt and shame in those who belong to the oppressed social group - partly because of symbols infusing a feeling of inferiority, partly because they are ascribed worthlessness - and all this suppresses their opposition. Thus a feature of the social mechanism is created that the dominating social group makes use of in order to maintain their superiority. Individuals cannot escape the stigmatisation of the group. They are identified with the character and situation of their own group both externally and internally. Those originating from the same village tend to judge themselves on the basis of the image that others hold of them. The collective disgrace that the powerful majority group ascribes to the minority is expressed in commonly acknowledged invectives and stereotypical blaming rumours; this kind of gossip is rooted in personality structures and the identity of individuals, as in the collective honour or virtue that the majority group thinks they embody. A kind of group charisma exists as the central element of the members' self-image; thy do not see themselves as individuals, but as belonging to a certain group, a collective. Therefore they find themselves to be particularly important.
However, it is only when a sharp line is drawn between one's own group and the other that the group charisma fufills its uniting functions; it then becomes group-preserving. When a border has been defined and the Others have been excluded from participation, these outsiders will never be able to get any part of the honour and virtue that the established insider-group has ascribed to itself. By elevating those included in the group, the group charisma automatically banishes the outsider-group to a lower social status, a subordinate position. The charisma that the established think they possess is sharp-edged; it not only helps to define the border between inside and outside, the charisma also functions as a weapon keeping the outsiders at a distance, which maintains the purity and integrity of the group. Thus, group charisma can be both a weapon for self-defence and a tool for attacking. The charisma implies that it is a sign of dishonour not to be part of the honour and virtue that the established majority, the eminent group, allegedly carries.
Everywhere, group charisma ascribed to one's own group, and disgrace, used to label the other group, are phenomena that complement each other. By using stereotypical expressions, one group praises itself and condemns another; even the most criminal and dangerous among the insiders partake of the charisma and identify with the characteristics and values that the majority group as a whole is seen as representing. A threatening and unpleasant person can think of himself as being as good when only some in the established group actually are.
The structure of rumour is connected with the gossiping group; self-praise turns into idealization and blaming rumours transform into clichéd slander, and these phenomena are closely related to the perception of the charisma of one's own group and the dishonour of the other group. The conservative Sunni Muslims in the Anatolian small towns have grown up with negative views of the Alevis in the mountain villages. Notions of Alevis existed together with symbols correspondingly praising the Sunni group. Abusing and insulting words were always close at hand when the Others were to be described. A person who, since childhood, has heard positive and negative descriptions of groups is deeply affected by this and it is obviously decisive for the individual's personal image of these groups. The collective identity, and as a part thereof, the collective pride and the aspiration for group charisma, shape an individual's identity and is seen in the perception of both the individual person and that of other people. Nobody grows up without one's personal identity rooted in identification with the group, or with several groups, even if this is only subtly expressed and perhaps totally forgotten. Most people know the conditions pertaining to positive gossip about one's own group and to negative rumours about the other; they have heard praise and slander, and know something of the superiority as opposed to the feeling of inferiority connected with these.
Norbert Elias adopted neither Marxist nor Weberian ideals when he set out to analyse social changes. He thought, for example, that not everything could be reduced to issues of control over financial power. Neither did the various concepts of the Weberians, with three dimensions or factors significant for the change and distribution of power, fit the thoughts of Elias.
Meaning (significance) and power are in focus. Power is a polymorphous phenomenon made up of the characteristics that all relations of mutual dependence possess. Elias tried to find categories that could be used to eliminate the inequality displayed in social relations. The theory of the established and the outsiders, like the theory of the civilisation process, links changes in the power relations between groups to the social habitus of the group members. These two theories resemble each other; the issue of established people and such who are not allowed to enter the community is not a question of what society looks like at a certain point in time (in this case, Kah¬ramanmaraş in December 1978), but how it has developed over the years. Sunni Muslims who have belonged to the majority since the Osman Empire are proud of this fact. The established small town families see themselves as guarding virtue and respectability; their networks consist of institutions that channel both mutual help and rumours about the Others. So, rumour is the powerful instrument for exclusion. The newcomers were not accepted by the majority; this was noticeable by the fact the cafés frequented by Alevis became "Alevi haunts" and the Sunni Muslims stopped going there.
Elias has a similar description of gathering places that are not good enough for the established once the outsider group has started frequenting these places. This is an example of the morality and self-restraint that the insider group uses as a means of distinguishing themselves from the "inferior", which refers to the arguments presented by Elias in Über den Prozess der Zivilisation. Soziogenetische und psychogenetische Untersuchungen. Erster band: Wandlungen des Verhaltens in den weltlichen Oberschichten des Abendlandes (1939) , for example concerning the feeling of that which is "embarrassing". The self-image of the established includes the view that they are more moral, that is, have more civilised norms, and that the intruders threaten their traditions and the common small-town identity. The outsider group is labelled as uncivilized, and here rumour plays an important part. "Gossip is highly selective and distorting. Through it, people compete in demonstrating their fervent adherence to their own group norms by expressing their shock and horror at the behaviour of those who do not conform."
Elias' study shows that the rumours conveyed by those who regard themselves as superior are quite similar. The story had all the typical features of a pieceof gossip. The tone of voice and the choice of words were identical, as was the simplification of characters and motives, the arrangement of the points of the story in black and white, and, of course, the underlying norms and beliefs. In most cases, the entertainment value of gossip seemed to be linked to ingredients that flattered the self-esteem of the narrator, the listener or both. This did not mean that the stories always were an accusation of the Others, or had an undertone of malevolence. Praise-gossip always concerned the established group itself.
When key positions in society belong to the majority and the minority lacks an influential network, it can be the case that some of those belonging to the group of outsiders feel ashamed on behalf of other non-established people and their behaviour which is not accepted by the majority. Once more, it can be noted how closely tied the structure of gossip is tied to that of the gossiping group. What has earlier been noted as 'praising gossip' tending to idealization and "condemning gossip" tending to stereotypical slander, are phenomena closely connected with the belief in the charisma of one's own group and the collective shame of the other group.
An unfavourable collective we-image is incorporate in the self-image of the individual and develops in parallel with the favourable image that the established group holds of itself. In old established groups, where the youth and perhaps their parents and grandparents since childhood have been fed with such convictions, with connected symbols of praise and blame, positive and negative images of this kind permeate the individual's personality. The collective identity, and within it, the collective pride and the charismatic claims of the group, contribute to shaping the identity of the individuals in both their own eyes and those of around them.

Rounding off in the footsteps of Norbert Elias
Elias uses the concepts of group charisma and group disgrace - the charisma of the established, powerful group in connected with the dishonour ascribed to the outsiders and the group disgrace that the non-accepted have internalized. There are various examples of the fact that people in general have experienced both praising and condemning gossip, and the attitudes of superiority or inferiority connected with these.
According to Elias, the satisfaction that group charisma gives leads to a kind of compensation for the frustration that is always caused by the adjustment to the strict norms of the group (characterising an elevated position). "Higher standards of 'civility' are reflected through our heightened 'thresholds of repugnance', our 'disgust func¬tions', which led to our moral criticism of, and indeed physical revulsion towards, breaches of corporeal taboos."
This is connected with Elias' civilisation process discussions on the habits of the elite, shame as a mechanism and on the ambivalent relations between social groups; these are significant aspects in the long run for the large-scale development of communities.
Elias' message is that we must not think that differences in status as based on an agreed ranking of positions in society which in some way would be incompatible with conflict. Terms such as 'status hierarchy' and 'order of rank' are sometimes used as if they referred to normally harmonious figurations that are only temporarily connected with tension and conflicts. The fact is that tension and conflicts constitute and inherent structural element in status hierarchies everywhere.
Elias' theory on the established and the outsider has often been overshadowed by the theory on the civilisation process, but the one is actually a continuation of the other. Both deal with the connection between the development of power relations and structures of character; the focus is on the mutual dependence between the individual and the collective.
Sunni Muslims and Alevis are mutually dependent on each other. But since the Sunnis monopolise all important posts in the small towns of southern Anatolia, the power balance is very unequal. The notions of group charisma and group disgrace are at work in a very obvious way. A stigmatisation process dominates society and several Alevis have tried/are trying to expressly take on the norms of the established group, while others who have chosen to be Alevis in their particular way, quite unconsciously absorb the view that the established group holds of them, so that the we-image is affected and occasionally creates resignation, despite resistance to it. Thus, the tension between the groups is constantly being heightened. In circumstances when the Alevis have been able to financially compete with the Sunnis, the power balance has been less unequal; at these times, rebellions have arisen, opposition has been clearly expressed and attempts at emancipation have taken place. The historical chain of events and the position of the Sunnis in the Osman Empire are essential; their oppression of Alevis has influenced and shaped this outsider group. The way in which both groups have been dependent on each other has made them strive towards certain goals and formulate claims or demands on a certain lifestyle. Since the Sunnis have been in the majority, the unequal power balance has caused a distorted view of reality. The image of 'the Others' is twisted and imaginary; and in the same way, the self-image is also warped.
By illuminating collective fantasies that are expressed in rumour, the theory of the established and the outsiders complements Elias' theory on the civilisation process. The collective imagination is a strange phenomenon. Power relations are characterised by collective praise and defamation, and many figments of the imagination have developed over a long period of time. The issues observed and explained must be seen as parts of processes, and therefore tradition plays an important role in creating power relations.
The fact that differences between the features of "old" and "new" are still perceived as relevant for structural differences between groups is largely due to the fact that the dominant notion of "social structure" makes people see structures as "still pictures", as "structures in a stable state", while the movement of structures in time, in the form of development or other kinds of social change, are treated as "historical", which in the language of sociology often means that they are looked upon as separate from the structure, and not as an inseparable part of it.
The massacre in the town of Karamanmaraş in 1978 was the culmination of a long process. The abounding rumours had built up during a long period of time, and the moral panic that broke out in December can partly be interpreted by using Elias' theory on the established and the outsiders. "Rumors crystallize the perceptions that members of each group have of the group toward which they feel hostile." The Sunni, and right-wing extremist, attack on the Alevis cannot be explained by gossip only, but rumours and orgies of violence are connected. Rumours often trigger riots; at least they aggravate the situation and pave the way for violence in combination with other factors.

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