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Delegating Welfare to Religion: Re -institutionalisation of Welfare Services in Turkey. Umut Korkut Glasgow Caledonian University Outline. De-centralisation and Re-centralisation of Welfare Theoretical background Context Empirical Tools Case Study

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delegating welfare to religion re institutionalisation of welfare services in turkey

Delegating Welfare to Religion: Re-institutionalisation ofWelfare Services in Turkey

Umut Korkut

Glasgow Caledonian University

  • De-centralisation and Re-centralisation of Welfare
  • Theoretical background
  • Context
  • Empirical Tools
  • Case Study
  • Empirical Findings
  • Discussion
de centralisation re centralisation debate
De-centralisation/Re-centralisation Debate
  • De-institutionalisation welfare via informalisation via
  • Liberal residualism
  • Social conservatism
  • Centrality of family
  • Communal solidarity
  • Re-institutionalisation of welfare state without reducing, but expanding the political power of the state.
  • How come?
  • The progression from de-centralisation to re-centralisation is via the engagement of religious agencies under state control in the formulation of welfare regime and the delivery of related services.
theoretical background
Theoretical background
  • Welfare delivery

Delegated welfare state

Faith-based organisations

  • Welfare regime

Discursive institutionalism



  • Neoliberal transformation
  • AKP Government and Diyanet (Directorate for Religious Affairs)
empirical tools
Empirical Tools

Two Patterns of welfare delegation

  • Service delivery

Family Guidance Offices (AIBs)

  • Regime making

Public philosophy generated by sermons (hutbes)

case study 1
Case Study (1)
  • Family Guidance Offices – AIBs

Extensively and liberally defined activity scope

  • The role of Diyanet
  • AIBs in action
    • Capacity
    • Activities
    • Guidance and values

I felt the same as the Prophet Muhammet on his return [referring to proselytising] when I went to the women NGOs [to give them books about the Prophet’s life]. The Foundation for Supporting Modern Life styles, Ataturkist Foundation … I went to all but … I went with pride. However, when I came back I cried with pain in my office. Do you know why I cried? It is not because of abuses in those places directed to me. I understood the troubles that the Prophet and that was why I cried. … I am guest. I go to them to donate books on the occasion of the sacred birth [in reference to the Prophet’s birth] … They assaulted me much. 8-9 women. It was obvious that they have organised to assail me before I came. I said is it over? They did not. … I went and I hit their desk. I said can you please remain silent? I am speaking now. I said I did not come here to represent AKP. I am not a representative of the government. I am an officer of the state. I am a religion officer.

case study 2
Case Study (2)
  • Public Philosophy – Hutbes

To foster religious institutions as alternatives to welfare services traditionally delivered by the state.

    • Justification of religious institutions coming to fore in matters of social policy
hutbe extract 1
Hutbe Extract (1)
  • Dear believers, with respect to the duties that family member have towards one another and the solution to problems that may arise in a family, Allah ordains the following: “Your wives are your clothes as you are to them.” “If you worry that spouses are falling out, send one referee from the husband’s family and one referee from the wife’s family. If both sides want to patch up, Allah will reconcile them. […]” As understood from these verses, spouses are complementary parts of a whole. All efforts must go into preserving the continuity of such unity. We, as a society, are all responsible for preserving the stability of families (Konya).
hutbe extract 2
Hutbe Extract (2)
  • Despite the message of our God, if parents are delegated to social care at old people’s homes, left out, or not visited even on religious days […] do we need any other example that hurts our hearts more? (Ankara)
hutbe extract 3
Hutbe Extract (3)

Our religion encourages people to start families because in family life as there are countless benefits for individuals. The serenity that one has searched for in vain can be found in the family. Having children and experiencing love beyond words are the strongest factors that assure this peace. No one is capable of living without ties to others. Everybody needs a spouse, a companion. Everyone will feel this need at every aspect of his or her lives. Those that seek for peace and comfort elsewhere will eventually come to understand that they are mistaken (Konya).


Q1 - What were the hutbe topics that were the most effective? (OE)

Family issues: 31% (295/959)

Q2 – Specify hutbe themes that were the most effective (CE)

Family issues: 44.7% (432/967)

empirical findings
Empirical Findings
  • AIBs are active agents of welfare delivery, especially in replacement of traditional social policy instruments by the state
  • Hutbesact as effective discursive means as they affect the views of listeners, among many, on issues that relate to family life
  • Welfare delegation can lead to the re-institutionalisation of state roles in social policy.
  • Such delegation can host both conventional but also increasingly unconventional methods
  • Unconventional methods prevail especially when gender matters
  • Conservative conceptualisation of gender in effect to family derive from institutional and discursive means.