The Case of Children Born out of Wedlock in Turkey: An ‘empty’ category?

Ustek, Funda and Alyanak, Oguz. 2016. The Case of Children Born out of Wedlock in Turkey: An ‘empty’ category? AG: About Gender, 5(10), ISSN 2279-5057 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article examines dominant discourses on motherhood in Turkey in light of a puzzling case, which involves women who bear children out of wedlock. Drawing on ongoing political discussions on the Turkish family structure that are rooted in a specific understanding of Islam and gender, and exploring the legal and practical difficulties surrounding birth registration, marriage, and abortion, we ask what constitutes ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ modes of relationship between men and women in Turkey, and show how women who give birth out of wedlock are treated as an ‘empty category’ that does not exist in Turkish society.

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Additional Information:

The research leading to this publication has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007–2013) / ERC Grant Agreement no.


illegitimate children; marriage; abortion; Turkey; motherhood

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1 November 2016Published Online
23 September 2016Accepted
1 May 2016Submitted

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Date Deposited:

08 Nov 2016 15:33

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:20

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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