Accepted paper:

Marshall Plan films about Turkey as aid objects and as agents/mechanism of development


Altug Akin (Izmir University of Economics)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will focus on the Marshall Plan communication materials, particularly the films about Turkey, to problematize the mechanisms that were agents in making of development discourse and the kind of subjectivity it fostered on Turkish people.

Paper long abstract:

Since its implementation the Marshall Plan (MP) has become a model or rhetorical device for exhorting planned external intervention elsewhere, to do what the MP is alleged to have done so 'successfully' for Europe after the crisis of World War II. Respectively, MP communication campaign in general, and MP films in particular frequently have been hailed to 'sell Europeans on' democracy, shared economic goals and the hope of a new, peaceful Europe built on the ashes of the ruined old one. However, it is impossible to talk any of these two aspects, when it comes to the Turkish case. Although not involved in WW2, Turkey was one of the countries, which not only benefited from Marshall Aid, but also became the audience/theme of some Marshall Films, such as Yusuf and his Plough (1951), The Village Tractor (1951) and Turkish Harvest (1952). Predominantly illustrating the transformation of the "backward" conditions under which Turkish urban-people live, to a "productive and normalized" social environment thanks to Marshall Aid, these movies, as well provide with valuable insights about the regimes of representation that place Turkey into a certain discourse, namely development. Since then, development discourse has historically been such a dominating one in the country, in economical, political, social and cultural spheres. In this research, the images Marshall planners utilized as they design and carry out their program in Turkey and production of these images are analyzed to shed light onto this understudied communication and/for development instance from half a century ago.

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