Zeitschrift für die Welt der Türken / Journal of World of Turks, Vol 4, No 2 (2012)

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From Tradition to Religion: Organisational Transformation of the London Turkish Migrant Community



This article aims to explore the transformation of traditional structure into religious organisations as a result of migration in the case of the London Turkish migrant community. The London Turkish migrant community is one of the many Turkish migrant communities in European cities. In fact, it represents a ‘gemeinschaft’ community in terms of traditional belief system and social organisations in a ‘gesellschaft’ society. The London Turkish migrant community has transported its traditional local heritage to a different structure that has represented a different meaning system. As a result of disharmony between the local meaning system and the new structure in Britain, traditional social organisations such as solidarity networks have lost their functions. These functional changes have created their functional equivalent in the structure of the ‘gesellschaft’ community. Consequently, the functional equivalent of traditional solidarity networks, that is, ideological organisations established as a religious centres have replaced traditional solidarity networks and have reorganised the membership system of the community. This structural organisation in the social life of the London Turkish migrant community has taken place according to migration type, settlement pattern and ideological diversities. Also this transformation has differentiated with regard to different subgroups of the London Turkish migrant community such as Anatolian Sunnis, Alevis and Turkish Cypriots.

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