Cover of Hotels and Highways by Begüm Adalet
Hotels and Highways
The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey
Begüm Adalet

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April 2018
304 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9781503604292
Paper ISBN: 9781503605541

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The early decades of the Cold War presented seemingly boundless opportunity for the construction of "laboratories" of American society abroad: microcosms where experts could scale down problems of geopolitics to manageable size, and where locals could be systematically directed toward American visions of capitalist modernity. Among the most critical tools in the U.S.'s ideological arsenal was modernization theory, and Turkey emerged as a vital test case for the construction and validation of developmental thought and practice.

With this book, Begüm Adalet reveals how Turkey became both the archetypal model of modernization and an active partner for its enactment. Through her analysis of the flow of aid money and expertise between the U.S. and Turkey, the planning of the American-funded Turkish highway network, and the development of the Turkish tourism industry, Adalet also highlights how "problems of knowledge" are fundamentally entwined with "problems of the political order": social scientific theories are produced in material spaces, through uncertain encounters between transnational actors and policy networks. In tracking the growth and transmission of modernization as a theory and in practice in Turkey, Hotels and Highways offers not only a specific history of a postwar development model that continues to influence our world, but a widely relevant consideration of how theoretical debates take shape in concrete situations.

About the author

Begüm Adalet is Visiting Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University.

"Hotels and Highways tells an absorbing story—from accounts of the modernization theorists' favorite research methods and the significant role Turkish intellectuals played in mutually shaping modernization theory itself, to the physical manifestations of their theories in infrastructures of modern capitalism in Turkey. A rich and fascinating account of how modernization theory came to Turkey."

—Laleh Khalili, University of London

"Hotels and Highways gives a clear understanding how U.S. hegemony was conceived and implemented in the aftermath of World War II and how thorough and decisive was its domination in Turkey and other similar places. Anybody interested in twentieth century experiences of modernity and U.S. power in the Middle East will need to read this book."

—Reşat Kasaba, University of Washington

"A brilliant history of the idea of modernization in the postwar period. By studying the projects and places in which concepts were shaped, Begüm Adalet opens a new perspective on twentieth-century political thought."

—Timothy Mitchell, Columbia University