Turkish popular television series as the connecting element of the Arab World?
Maja Dolinar (University of Ljubljana)
Paper short abstract:
The paper aims to answer the question of whether the movement of Turkish drama series across the Arab world contributes to the development of a shared sense of unity within the Arab world in the eyes of Moroccan women.
Paper long abstract:
Regionalization and transnational identity of the Arab television industry has enabled the popularity of Arab drama series. In the last decade, the Arab audiences that were used of being exposed to culturally specific content that addressed their regional identities, have been increasingly exposed to Turkish drama series, which were introduced to the region under the assumption of cultural proximity. This cultural proximity relates to shared Islamic practices, historical experiences, as well as social aspects, for example the context of arranged marriages, respect for elders and big families living together. Arab audiences are increasingly exposed to stories, where the main heroines are beautiful, career-oriented and sexually aware women. Such exposure in turn results in the emergence of a battlefield in the Arab world between the televised representation of emancipated women and the condemnation by Arab religious/political conservative leaders. The paper deals with the influence of the political, social and cultural realities, portrayed in Turkish drama series, broadcasted in the Arab media, on the construction of the identity of Arab women. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, carried out in 2013 in Morocco, I deal with the question of whether the movement of Turkish drama series across the Arab world contributes to the development of a shared sense of unity. On the one hand the series are seen as a bridge between both shores of the Mediterranean, on the other hand the cultural distance is recreated within each episode as the Turkish way of life is perceived to be more 'European' than 'Arab'.