Stranger Image in Hajj Narratives


MILLI FOLKLOR, no.130, pp.110-119, 2021 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 130
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Title of Journal : MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Page Numbers: pp.110-119


The hajj ritual, which can be considered as one of the passage rituals in Turkish folklore, also has a meaning not only because the individuals present there perform similar movements synchronously, but also because it is a multinational ritual. Thanks to the international characteristics of the ritual, individuals who have not been able to get out of their village before, go out of the nation, a community far beyond the village, and meet people who are not like them. During this encounter, they discover themselves by weaving the information they have gathered through their observations. The weaving process takes place through narratives whose form is unclear in the socialization processes after the hajj ritual is completed. As a result of the aforementioned formlessness, it is possible to evaluate these products as "discourse". In this study, in order to reach the basic content of the discourse that has been produced by Turks about strangers, interviews were made with the informants and the qualities that shaped the images about the strangeness in these memories were compiled and analyzed through discourse analysis method. Within the scope of the research, the number of informants whose data have been collected is eight and all of them are selected from Sivas. As a result of in-depth interviews with the designated people, hajj memories have been obtained and sections stating the judgments about strangers in these memories have been reserved for evaluation. As a result of the analysis of the discourse produced, it is identified that the issues the way religious rituals are performed such as praying and reading Quran, loyalty to the behaviors of the Prophet called as circumcision in the tradition, nutrition practices, and privacy thresholds have been determined by Turkish pilgrims while producing images about strangers. In these determinations, it is found that generally the non-ideal qualities of strangers were emphasized and depicted. It is concluded that the position of the stranger, which can be evaluated as negative, is an indirect way of glorifying the society to which the narrator is a member. In addition to these, the informants do not consider strangers as a homogeneous mass. It is understood that the informants, who subject their foreign communities to simple classifications, have a special sympathy especially for Indonesian and Far Eastern Muslims. It is observed that more negative ideas about some groups exist by stereotyping in folklore. Strangers who are marked by positive qualities and strangers who are known for negative qualities serve the same purpose when it comes to the identity awareness of the community that produces the discourse. Both groups ultimately allow the community that produces the discourse to recognize its values and to recognize itself. At some point, it seems possible that the produced discourse also allows the society to sprout on self-critical ideas. It can be suggested that the hajj ritual, ultimately performed as a religious necessity and an important rite of passage in Turkish folklore, contributes to the discovery of national consciousness rather than enabling the development of religious community awareness in Turkish society. The consciousness of the discovered national identity is kept alive with ideas about strangers observed during the hajj ritual. It contributes to the continuity of ideas about national identity through the discursive reproduction of images of strangers.