Istanbul Municipal Concerts

With doctoral student M. Kemal Özkül, I am exploring municipal concerts in Istanbul, Turkey, with special interest in the potential of the musical experience to engender different forms of social capital. Our main types of data come from audience surveys, interviews of municipal administrators, and participant observation of concerts. Out of Istanbul’s many districts, we are focused at the moment on Üsküdar, which is relatively traditional and religious, and has been ruled by the AKP since 2004. Of particular interest is these concerts’ potential to arouse and direct audience members’ trust perceptions: towards strangers (generalized trust), similar individuals (particularized trust), family and close friends (thick trust), or the government. Music can engender strong social and affective states; we seek to understand how different types of trust might relate to such feelings at these concerts, especially given the current socio-political tension in Turkey. One of our goals is an eventual analysis of the survey data with interpretive statistics, to try to discern the factors that contribute most strongly to the formation of certain types of social capital and trust perceptions. We have recently presented some of our initial findings in Paris at the Musique en Democracy conference (5-7 November, 2015).