From Gandhi to Gülen: The Habitus of Non-Agressive Action

In Mohandas Gandhi’s terminology, truth (satya) implies love, which should engenders firmness/dedication (agraha)- thus, satyagraha refers to the “firmness in a good cause.” Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagraha is often conflated with the passive resistance in social movement literature, though a better descriptor would be dedicated nonviolent resistance. In this study, we compare the Gülen movement’s philosophy of action, called hizmet, with the notion of satyagraha. We argue that hizmet and satyagraha refer to similar cognitive perceptions of the movement activists. In Bourdieuan sense, the movement activists have a unique habitus, which made them very different from the passive resistance activists in the Islamic revivalist movements and the New Social Movements (NSM) in the post-industrial societies.

by Dr. Ali Ünsal