A habitus-oriented perspective on resistance to language planning through translation: A case study on the Turkish translation of Elif Şafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul

Hilal Erkazanci Durmus

This paper explores some aspects of the socio-biography of the Turkish writer Elif Şafak, who made substantial changes to Baba ve Piç, the Turkish translation of her novel The Bastard of Istanbul. Arguing that Şafak’s habitus has a considerable influence on her style in Baba ve Piç, the paper focuses on Şafak’s incorporation of Ottoman Turkish words into the Turkish translation in order to show that the addition of these words frames the Turkish translation within the broader narrative of language planning in Turkey. Ultimately, the study argues that the concept of habitus and the concept of narrative can be fruitfully brought together to explain how certain socio-stylistic aspects of the habitus-governed translation respond to the larger narratives of the target society.

Table of contents

Pierre Bourdieu’s (1984) sociological theory of habitus has proven a particularly fruitful area of research for Translation Studies since the publication of Daniel Simeoni’s influential paper “The Pivotal Status of the Translator’s Habitus” (1998). In the light of a habitus-oriented approach to translation, translators’ practices are considered to be moulded by the relationship that evolves between their social trajectories and embodied dispositions, on the one hand, and the structure of the translation field in which they are involved, on the other hand.

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