Discursive struggles over the Turkish agricultural cooperative field: liberal vs etatist frames during the early republican era, 1930-1933

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Soydemir C. O., Erçek M.

Research Journal of Business and Management, vol.7, no.1, pp.1-12, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Journal Name: Research Journal of Business and Management
  • Journal Indexes: Sobiad Atıf Dizini
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-12
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose - This study aims to solve a historical puzzle in Turkish cooperative history and illuminate the failure of a discursive medium, the journal of Türk Kooperatifçisi, to realize its ambitious goals of disseminating liberal ideas into the field of agricultural cooperatives. Given the strong state influence on Turkish cooperatives for over a century, this article strives to articulate when and how the anti-etatist cooperative discourse experienced an absolute defeat in the face of state hegemony. Methodology – This historical case study carries out hermeneutical discourse analysis on the archival data collected from the National Library of Turkey. Drawing on the first Turkish cooperative periodical, namely the Türk Kooperatifçisi, the researchers have read 214 articles, amounting to 966 pages. After a systematic interpretation of the collected data, the researchers have further situated archival evidence onto a plot and accordingly constructed a historical narrative, thereby illuminating the underlying reasons for the short life span (1930-1933) of a liberal cooperative periodical in early Republican Turkey. Findings- The findings of this study suggest that towards the end of the 1920s, the sharp turn in the economic policy of Turkey triggered a series of events, leading the agricultural cooperatives to become state apparatuses. Correspondingly, the liberal frame regressed in the face of the etatist frame and became defeated in the discursive arena. Conclusion- The contest between frames both shapes and becomes shaped by the ideological shift in the Turkish state polity. However, this macro-level change yielded in the Turkish agricultural-cooperative field an open forum where opposing discourses challenge for the settlement of expedient cooperatives.