Industrial Exhibition, Network Production and Construction of Imaginaries : the International Müsiad Fair and Representations of the Turkish State
Müsiad International Fair held in Istanbul in 2014 aroused great public interest due to the strong presence of political elites as well as to the mobilization of a large network of institutions, firms and media partners. International exhibitions are relevant fields to explore the formation of trade circuits and the creation of sociabilities, as well as to question the political and international issues central to the construction of trade networks and markets. This event appears as the representation of the Turkish state as it is formed under the AKP power. We witness a double trend of reconfiguration and of internationalization of the state constituting processes through the phenomena of increased interactions between private enterprise and public action on one side and the shrinkage of patronage networks on the other. Participating to this event therefore becomes a question of legitimization and delegitimization for private actors regarding these networks of power, the production of which is based on the presentation of economic and industrial productions and goes together with the creation of Imaginaries. The ethnographic study of the fair shows how industrial, cultural and symbolic representations bring about the production of two types of Imaginary, one related to the reinvention of the idea of the ummah across merchant networks and the other referring to the supremacy of Turkey as the carrier of this project.