Alevi populations have undergone many radical socio-political transformations after the 1950s which have posed substantial challenges regarding the maintenance of the Alevi tradition. Until recent decades the Alevi tradition was mainly rooted in rural structures. Rapid urbanization led by internal migration, the state-led assimilation campaigns and the rising threat of Islamism in Turkey since the 1980s, and increased contacts with other religious traditions (mainly Christianity) via the Alevi diaspora in Europe have brought about and increased the importance of new actors in Alevi socio-cultural politics, most importantly Alevi civil associations.
These modern Alevi associations also face some serious problems as to how to re-build the Alevi tradition under new conditions and how to regulate and institutionalize their relations with the traditional religious authority of Alevi saintly lineages, the ocaks and their members, the dedes. Thus, the main aim of this workshop is to discuss the process of Alevi tradition building with a specific focus on new Alevi institutions, their roles in the conduct of lives of Alevis as well as their contacts with other religious traditions.