4th International Ibn Khaldun Symposium

Asabiyya That Turns into an Iron Cage: Looking at Gülen’s Organization through Ibn Khaldun and Weber

Nurullah Ardıç

Last modified: 14-06-2017

Abstract (400-500 words)

Can the Gülen Organization ("FETÖ Organization"), which has been registered by the Republic of Turkey as a criminal organization with the failed coup attempt on July 15 and which have influenced the public life in Turkey in recent years at most, be treated with Ibn Khaldunian and Weberian terms as a social movement and organized structure? Of course, the nature of this complex organization adopting the principle of confidentiality and the result of their actions should be evaluated from different points of view. In this paper, the analysis of the development and structure of the said organization based on the Ibn Khaldun’s concepts of "nomadism" and "anxiety" on the one hand and Weber's concepts of "instrumental rationality" and "iron cage" on the other will be presented. In this framework, it will be discussed how the challenge has been made to the "center" of the system as a "religious renewal movement"-appearing group with the characteristics of nomadism, by creating a strong anxiety for the masses that the organization gathered among the “periphery” of sociopolitical system in Turkey and disable with the relative deprivation. Then, it will be treated how the organization got the feature of "iron cage" by introducing various mechanisms and methods based on instrumental rationality in order to keep the members gathered by the organization under strict control. In this context, the basic argument of the paper is that a cause of "success" of the Gülen organization is also connected to these two processes. Of course, the volume, dimensions and complexity of the said organization can not be understood comprehensively with such an analysis. However, it is aimed at contributing to the resolution of such a complexity to some degree with such a sociological view. Another goal of the study is to make a modest contribution to the debate of non-Eurocentric origins of social theory by putting Weber and Ibn Khaldun into a kind of "conceptual dialogue".

Key words: Anxiety, instrumental rationality, nomadism, iron cage, FETÖ, Gülen Organization.


Asabiyet, araçsal rasyonalite, bedavet, demir kafes, FETÖ, Gülen Örgütü