Fortunes for sale: Cultural politics and commodification of culture in millennial Turkey

Zeynep K. Korkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article examines a peculiar case of commodification of culture under the shadow of a law serving a repressive agenda of modernist, secularist cultural politics. Fortune-telling, criminalized in the name of nationalist modernization in the early 20th century, has become popularized and commercialized in millennial Turkey in emergent businesses called fortune-telling cafés, where complimentary cup readings are provided with a cup of Turkish coffee to avoid persecution. Informed by fieldwork in fortune-telling cafés, I explicate this commodification in terms of the recent recalibration of Turkey’s national identity and culture, specifically in relation to Europe. The article analyzes the relationship between commodification of culture and cultural politics in the particular context of post-colonial nationalisms that host a strong tension between popular and national cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-338
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 6 2015


  • Café
  • Turkey
  • coffee
  • commodification
  • cultural politics
  • fortune-telling
  • gender
  • occult
  • post-colonial nationalism
  • secularism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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