SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA PROJECT AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN SOUTHEAST TURKEY
Southeastern Anatolia is undeveloped region of Turkey and its economic activities mostly based on agriculture. Social structure of the region give the appearance of the traditional features, because of agricultural produce is related to traditional structure.
In the early process of modernization of Turkey, this region cannot be reached sufficiently because of distance of region to the centre and many other reasons. On the other hand social structure of the region shows different characteristics than the rest of the region of Turkey. Especially feudal system of region is the dominant structure. Feudal system is identified with tribe (a*iret) organization. The leader of the tribe that is called as agha local people, and agha is the unique authority of the region, local big landowner. Because of region is based on agricultural production, agha is the determined organization for all social relations.
The government of turkey after 1970’s in order to develop economy of region and to provide modernization of region began to impediment the South eastern Anatolian project (SEAP) as a regional project include dams, hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems.
Southeastern Anatolia Project SEAP) as a transformation instrument was studied in terms of agricultural and economic aspects by many academics. In this paper I am going to focus on how does project effect to traditional social structure of region, how does change and transform the institutions, organizations especially agha organization as a basic part of the feudal system of the region. I am going to study what is the connection between physical dimensions of project and socio-cultural structure of the region and this relation what does effect to each other.
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On the other hand project is the turning point of the modernization process of the region and as a consequence al of this process it is experienced social change. In this sense I am going to try to explain this change by referencing to Neil J Smelser’s modernization theory, because of transformation of all aspects of social life from traditional toward modern shows suitability to this theory.
There is a statue-quo that characterize traditional rural social structure clash with to the modern institutions that is introduced by SEAP. Local organizations such as tribe’a*iret’ system is changed in this process. On the other hand it can be seen new modern institutions, organizations, activities and traditional institutions in the same time.
On the other hand the project brought great technological developments to the region, but social structure have not sufficient adaptation strategies to this new technology. In other words material culture (technology that was introduced by SEAP does not go hand by hand with nonmaterial culture (Local traditional structure).
In this sense I am going to study to this situation by referencing William F Ogburn s Cultural Lag Theory.
SEAP generally represent the modernization of region in terms of many aspects. As an integrated project, it is not limited with the dams, irrigation systems only, but it contains industries and investments for the development of the socio-economic sectors such as agricultural development, industry, urban, and rural infrastructure, communication, education, health and tourism, and other social services in coordinated way.
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This situation can be explained by Smelser s modernization theory. According to him modernization contains four different but related elements that include;
a) In the realm of technology, the change from simple and traditionalised techniques toward the application of scientific knowledge b) In the agriculture, the evolution from subsistance farming toward commercial production of agricultural goods. This means specialization in cash crops, purchase of non-agricultural products in the market, and frequently agricultural wage labour c) In industry, the transition from the use of and animal power toward industrialization proper or men aggregated at power driven machines working for monetary return with the products of the manufacturing process, entering into a market based on a network of exchange relations d) In ecological arrangements, the movement from the farm and village toward urban centres.
These four processes are experienced in the region after SEAP began to work. Therefore we can say that SEAP is a modernization project that changes the social structure of the region.
On the other hand while these transformations is experienced from traditional toward modernization, society go through social crises in different spheres of social life, because of the adaptation problem to the new modern institutions. In this situation the new institutions and mechanization, that are not neither traditional nor modern, had been appeared as providing the social cohesion and continuous. This new institutions can be called as buffer institutions . M beccel K ray introduced buffer institution concept to the sociology literature. K ray s buffer institution concept shows parallelism with Ogburn s Cultural Lag Theory.
Cultural Lag Theory is merely a special form of general equilibrium theory. It argues that societies operate as homeostatic mechanism in that changes that upset equilibrium in one part tend to produce compensating changes to restore that equilibrium situation differs from the old and there is a lag between the two equilibrium states. Ogburn distinguishes between material culture (technology) and non-material culture (custom, beliefs, philosophies, law, government, in general values, and socially patterned ways of interaction).
Changes in nonmaterial lag behind changes in material culture. A cultural lag occurs when one of the two parts of culture which are correlated changes before or in greater degree than the other part does, thereby causing less adjustment between the two parts than existed previously. Cultural lags are one characteristics of the process of the social evolution, which occurs in a closely integrated society in periods of rapid change.
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Today situation of the region can be explained throughout modernization and cultural lag theory. Dimensions and directions of the all change in the region can be studied by referencing Smelser s modernization theory, and existing modern a traditional institutions in the same time can be understood by Ogburn s cultural lag theory. On the other hand while social change is experienced toward modernization buffer institution was emerged. These new type institutions, organizations provide social cohesion process of cultural maladjustment in the region.
Social structure of the region
There is a traditional feudal structure that based on kinship relations in South-eastern Anatolia rural areas. The majority of the population rural areas work on agriculture. There is out of balance in terms of land disposition. Landowners agha have the controlling of broad land and authority on their fellowship. Fellow of the agha must obey to their rule unconditional.
All of this information indicates that land characteristic element in the region. This dominance of the land determines mode of production, relations of production and means of production. It can be said that land is the basic element that shapes all social relations and way of life of the people in rural area. In this context social structure can be understood by looking into how do people get lands under control. There are two different classes in the rural are; landless or people have livelihood land and big landowners, aghas. The relations of these stratification in the following way; landless people have two alternatives, to work for landlord, agha as day worker or seasonal worker, or to migrate to urban centres of the region as building worker. If landless not realize all of these, he must became an employee of agha unconditional. Agha has not only broad land, but also have technical equipments such as combine harvester, tractor for intensive agriculture. Despite aghas live in villages, their life standard is very high when we compared to the other strata because of means of communication that effect all aspects of social life is controlled and colonized by aghas.
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There is a dualistic structure in the region. The stratification is determined in terms of becoming the owners of land and means of production. The new technology that was brought by SEAP provides the more power to the aghas in terms of some aspects, while it is transformed. On the other hand traditional and modern institutions exist together at the same time in the region. In other words in the region transition period is experienced.
SEAP and Social Transformation
SEAP is a multi-sectoral and integrated regional development project based on the concept of sustainable development. It is basic aim is to eliminate regional development disparities by raising people s income level and living standards; and the contribute to such national development targets as social stability and economic growth by enhancing the productive and employment generating capacity of rural sector.
General development objectives of the project include many different but interrelated spheres such as industry, agriculture and culture. Basic aim of the project can be listed as to increase the productivity, people income, and most important to destruct traditional stable unequal structure of the region. In order to provide sufficient technological equipments, increase the employment opportunities and raise income level, it encourage the local people to participate planning and evolution process. We can summarize the SEAP s basic target by transforming traditional structure of the region to increase the effectiveness of modern organizations in the region in which traditional structure is dominant. This means that traditional organizations are the main obstacle in terms of targeting objectives of the SEAP.
We can say that more than agricultural development SEAP is a planned transformation-change project toward modernization. People of the region sustain their life throughout agricultural elements. Therefore there is a great relation between all aspects of social life, agricultural production.
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Today in the region there is a transformation from sedentary agricultural society toward industrial society based on agricultural production. In other words there is a transformation from closed society to open society, from traditional society toward modern society. The proportion of the people have tractor is %57, the proportion of the using new agricultural techniques such as watering; fertilizing is %30 according to 1990 year statistics. This means that, in the region intensive agriculture is made as a consequence of SEAP. ON the other hand there is increase proportion of having means of communication when we compare 1980 s and today. While 5.52 percent of population had telephone in 1980 s, in 1990 s 6.96 percent of population had telephone.
On the other hand one of the objectives of the SEAP is to increase status of local woman that cannot participate to the social life for traditional reasons. The project was so far reached 15000 woman under SEAP Social Action Plan for provide to access to the social services, in taking part in social process as equal individuals. In this sense social action plan tried to eliminate cultural lag between material and nonmaterial culture. But we can say that still there is a great cultural lag in the region because of traditional structure is very powerful. Technological developments, mechanization of agricultural production and new means of communication are not easily adapted to the local culture. So cultural conflict was experienced between material (SEAP) culture and non material (traditional local values) in transition period. On the other hand SEAP is an external intervention, even from above (Jacobean) intervention to the region. So transformation can not occurred in coordinated way between material and non-material culture, between Modern technical ethic and traditional cultural values.
As a traditional institution while feudal system lose its importance in rural area, it can be gained new functions in the urban area of the region especially in the political sphere. On the other hand Villagers found adaptation strategies after they met to SEAP. Same of the villagers became tractor, combine harvester repairman, or technical users of new modern machines. But most of the villagers migrated to the centres of the region in order to work as building worker.15
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While in the one side this transformation was experienced, in the other side new buffer institutions was emerged such as kirac l k *, ortak l k **. This new institutions prevent the society from crises and provide adaptation the society to the new institutions that are introduced by SEAP.
While SEAP was planned as irrigation and hydroelectric energy production project in 1970 s, in 1980 s the project was transformed into a multi-sectoral regional development programme of a socio-economic character. Today SEAP not only consist of dams, hydroelectric power plants, irrigation system, but also include social aspects such as education, tourism, social services, and health.
Social structure of the South-eastern Anatolia generally is traditional feudal system. Dominant structure is tribe (a*iret) system that can be identified with traditional, agricultural structure. Social
The land determines relations, stratification, and economic activity, informal authority as features of the traditional society. But after implementation of SEAP this structure was began to transform. Because of directions and dimensions of transformation from traditional toward modern, this process can be explained by Smelser s modernization theory.
SEAP include new technology of modernity that represent according to Ogburn s cultural lag theory material culture. Traditional local culture represents nonmaterial culture with its values, norms and way of life. In this transition period material and nonmaterial culture don t go hand by hand to each other. In other words, modern technology and institutions were entered to the region by SEAP, traditional cultural institutions is still exist society. Ogburn s cultural lag theory explains this situation. Adaptation of society to the new culture is not easy because of traditional social structure is dominant. In this transformation period crises are handled by assisting of new characteristic institutions that are buffer institutions. These institutions provide social cohesion and help to adaptation of people to the modern technology, institutions and organizations.
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