The Introduction of Telephone into Turkish Houses: Private Space, Borders of the Neighborhoods and Solidarity

Author(s) Gülengül Altıntaş
Contact Gülengül Altıntaş, Bahçeşehir University, 34353 Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey. E-mail:
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 8, Iss. 2, 2014, pp. 6-25
Published November 10, 2014
Type Article
Abstract This essay is based on the data collected in a two-year research project (between 2010–2012), under the title Telephony And Turkish Modernization: Social History of Telephone Since The Ottoman Era (1881–2010), which was primarily concerned with the social history of telephone in Turkey during is peculiarly long history of implementation and dispersal. The project was conducted as oral history and archive research, and a comparative approach was adopted to identify and analyze the divergent nature of their findings. According to the findings of the researched archive materials (newspapers, comic and popular magazines), the implementation of telephone into the Turkish houses created complex feelings, which found its expression as both “emulation” and “intimidation” attached to the experience of telephone in a double system of representation. Whereas the oral history research findings are discordant in the sense that telephone is remembered as a symbol of “solidarity” and “sharing” in the narratives of telephone memories, and was accommodated into the traditional everyday life of the neighborhood. Through the case of telephone technology, this essay aims at pointing out the gap between the discursive construction of the elements of the experience of modernity and the actual experience of the historical subjects; and argues that this gap should be disclosed with more ethnographic studies for it also points a feeling of ‘lack’ that pervasively infuses itself into our present and finds its expression in the self-narratives of the oral history as a nostalgia for the past.
Keywords public sphere, information and communication technology, social networks, mobile phones, Turkey, communication studies