Infrastructures of Urban Religious Management: Who Should Pay for the Utilities of Cemevis in Turkey?

  • Nazlı Özkan Northwestern University
Keywords: Infrastructure, religion, state, religious minorities, electricity and water


In Turkey, electricity and water expenses for houses of prayer, such as mosques and churches, are covered by the state. Cemevis, places of worship for Turkey’s marginalized religious minority of Alevis, however, cannot benefit from from this regulation. By analyzing the political negotiations between the Turkish state and Alevis about cemevis’ utility bills, this paper argues that unequal distribution of infrastructural funds becomes a means for governing religion in urban contexts. In so doing, I focus on a less studied dimension of infrastructures by examining how infrastructural governance is an arena both to reproduce and to contest hegemonic state religiosity.

Author Biography

Nazlı Özkan, Northwestern University

Nazlı Özkan is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Northwestern University. She is interested in states, religious minorities, mass media, secularism, and political economy in the Middle East and North Africa. Her dissertation examines news production practices of the Alevi minority in Turkey to understand how journalistic production emerges as the most viable means for both states and religious minorities to foster their conflicting political agendas.

How to Cite
Özkan, N. “Infrastructures of Urban Religious Management: Who Should Pay for the Utilities of Cemevis in Turkey?”. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Vol. 10, June 2018, pp. 86-94, doi:10.17192/meta.2018.10.7588.