A VILLAGE IMAM IN EASTERN BLACKSEA: BALCI HODJA (HASAN BALCIOGLU)

Abstract

Author(s): Mustafa BAKIRCI

In our country, there are various individuals known as the chaplains of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, religious opinion leaders, mullah (melee) and mudarris who have a profound impact on the society. However, it is seen that studies regarding these individuals in the field of religion sociology are quite rare. Increase in the number of such studies in different cities and regions of Turkey will enable the development of typologies for chaplains and religious opinion leaders of Turkey. Moreover, these studies will provide different perspectives on structural problems and service areas of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, religious institutions and groups.

Balc? Hodja (Hasan Balc?o?lu), the subject of our research, has served as a chaplain for forty years in total and is a well-known individual in the ?nece village where he has served as an imam-preacher, and in Bulancak district and the villages located within the borders of Bulancak district within the borders of Giresun province. Balc? Hodja is a person who has been honoured by people in the region and has an impact on the community. In this regard, this study aims to explore the attitudes and behaviours of Balc? Hodja which have affected the community and got him to be respected.

The findings obtained in this study were discussed under three headings. Fist one is the evaluation of the intellectual and political attitude of Balc? Hodja considered as important for understanding his attitudes and behaviours as a village imam and chaplain. The following heading is on his effectiveness in social activities and communities, and his communication and relationship with the society including people especially teachers and village headmen. The third heading is an evaluation regarding the issues emphasised in the preaching and conversations of Balc? Hodja.

This study is based on interpretative (hermeneutics) paradigm and qualitative research design was used. Furthermore, the study was conducted with semi-structured interview forms and document analysis.

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