Lyndon C.S. Way
Dissonant note by dissonant note: musical expressions of Turkish dissent
Though there are numerous definitions of alternative media, most include radical, dissonant, oppositional and/or progressive content. Atton (2004) notes that on the one hand, content and process make media alternative. On the other hand, even mainstream media can offer alternatives. Here in Turkey, the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) embraces free market economic policies alongside conservative Islamic social and religious values. Pop groups which blatantly articulate discourses of dissent towards AKP, closely ressembling Atton’s concept of alternative, endure obstacles to playing, recording, distributing and broadcasting. This is due to close relations between Turkish politics and media where most media either support AKP or dissent is subdued. However, some musicians within the mainstream and those on the fringes also articulate dissent by combining visuals and audio in official and non-official music videos distributed on the internet. As such, these music clips are an “alternative media” in terms of both content and the use of alternative distribution (Atton 2004). This presentation examines one such unofficial Turkish pop video using a multimodal analysis of images, lyrics and music. The analysis reveals how these three modes shape discourses of dissent towards Turkey’s conservative government not seen in mainstream media.