Reading Dede Korkut’s “Yigenek” Through the Lens of Kohlberg’s Moral Development TheoryBilge Merve Karadağ
Dede Korkut’s stories are considered some of the most important works of the Turkish language. These stories were first created by Dede Korkut as an oral narrative tradition and recorded in writing in the 15th century. Since the two copies of this text, by which we can learn about the concrete and abstract cultural assets of Turks, have been found— one in Dresden and one in the Vatican archives—numerous studies have been conducted in Turcology. The current research examines the character of Yigenek, The Son of Kazılık Koca, who has been mentioned 18 times in 3 of Dede Korkut stories, within the framework of Kohlberg’s theory of cognitive moral development. Kohlberg called his theoretical approach to morality and moral motivation “cognitive developmental” to describe his contextualization of moral development within social and non-social (physical) cognitive development. According to Kohlberg, moral values that develop continuously at pre-traditional, traditional, and post-traditional levels are divided into two phases at each level. The name Yigenek appears in 18 places throughout the work, including the story in which he is the main character. Because of this frequency, the Yigenek character was chosen as the subject of study because of the many specified emotions, thoughts, and actions from Kohlberg’s moral development theory.
Kohlberg’in Ahlak Gelişimi Teorisine Göre Dede Korkut'un Yigenek’iBilge Merve Karadağ
Dede Korkut Hikâyeleri Türk dilinin en önemli eserlerinden birisi olarak kabul edilmektedir. Bu hikâyeler Dede Korkut tarafından öncelikle sözlü anlatı geleneği olarak ortaya çıkmış, 15. yüzyılda ise yazılı olarak kayıt altına alınmıştır. İçerik bakımından Türklere dair somut ve soyut kültürel varlıklar hakkında bilgi edinebildiğimiz bu metinlerden birinin Dresden diğerinin de Vatikan arşivlerinde ortaya çıkmasından itibaren Türkoloji alanında sayısız incelemeler ve araştırmalar yapılmıştır. Mevcut araştırmanın amacı, Dede Korkut hikâyelerinin üçünde toplam 18 kere adı geçen Kazılık Koca Oğlu Yigenek karakterini Kohlberg'in bilişsel ahlak gelişimi kuramı çerçevesinde incelemektedir. Kohlberg, ahlaki gelişimin sosyal ve sosyal olmayan (fiziki) bilişsel gelişim içindeki bağlamsallaştırılmasını tanımlamak için ahlak ve ahlaki güdülenmeye dair teorik yaklaşımını “bilişsel gelişim” olarak adlandırmıştır. Kohlberg'e göre gelenek öncesi, geleneksel ve gelenek sonrası düzeylerde kesintisiz olarak gelişen ahlaki değerler her düzeyde iki evreye ayrılmaktadır. Araştırmada Kohlberg'in ahlak gelişimi kuramında sınırlarını belirlediği düzey ve evreler çerçevesinde Yigenek'in anlatılarda değinilen eylemleri, bakış açısı ve diyalogları değerlendirilmiştir.
This study is an interdisciplinary text analysis and categorization study that takes advantage of psychology and Turcology knowledge. The main character Yigenek, from Dede Korkut’s story “Kazılık Koca Oğlu Yigenek” is analyzed according to the characteristics of the moral development phases of Kohlberg, whose theory had a great impact on 20th century psychology. Kohlberg’s vision of moral developmental psychology began with the exploration of the psychological understanding of cognitive considerations when making decisions. His work was decidedly interdisciplinary, grounded in the philosophy of Emmanuel Kant, James Mark Baldwin, and John Rawls, in the pragmatism of John Dewey, the sociology of Emile Durkheim, the psychology of William James, the political theory of John Rawls, and the communication theory of Jürgen Habermas (Zizek, Nowak, & Garz, 2015, p. 8). The current research also comprises a combination of separate scientific areas of use. The stories of Dede Korkut, which reflect the culture of Turkish society and are one of the most important works of the Turkish language, are often chosen as a research topic in scientific studies on Turkish language and literature, because these narratives provide important information about all the cultural facts that exist in the daily lives of the Oğuz people.
This research examines Dede Korkut’s heroes, who were created as part of the oral tradition centuries ago. Studies about Dede Korkut’s stories are increasing today. The main question of the research is how the male Turkish alpine character found in these stories, which are thought to have been transcribed in the 15th century, will come to life in a psychological theory. Muharrem Ergin (2003, p. 3) is one of the greatest scholars of Turkish literature. In the preface of his book on Dede Korkut, he writes that Fuat Köprülü had always said, “If you put all the Turkish literature on one of the scales and Dede Korkut on the other side, Dede Korkut outweighs them all.” In these stories, Yigenek is mentioned frequently when it comes to battling and victory, and he even has a story in his name. What are the world view, values, and social life of the character of Yigenek, son of Kazılık Koca. The aim here is to get to know the character of Yigenek, which is described as a person who grows up in the Oğuz culture where the individual is for the whole community and the community is for the individual. The question of the depiction of the alpine male character that will be a role model for the youth of the Oğuz community is answered at the end of this research. The moral development theory mentioned at the beginning of the article was chosen as the most useful theory that offers an inclusive method for this purpose.
There are many researches about this topic, Dede Korkut, and have become more and more deeply and diversified. But considering Kohlberg’s Moral Theory, in particular, the studies that combine Kohlberg’s theory with stories from Old Anatolian Turkish literature, such as Dede Korkut’s stories are numbered (Dağaşan, Erginsoy Osmanoğlu, & Erdağı Toksun, 2017; Yılmaz, 2019). We hope this research will take its place among these works and contribute to other Turkish literature and Turkish language research. The data obtained in this stdy are summarized and interpreted according to the previously determined themes and are analyzed and classified within the framework of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. Firstly, in Section 2.1, text analysis was conducted, and it was investigated whether the name Yigenek is used in the other narratives and how it is depicted if it is used. After this research, the references to the Yigenek character were determined throughout the text, and Yigenek’s associations with the situations throughout the book were examined. In this context, after all the physical and characteristic features of Yigenek were determined, they were interpreted in accordance with Kohlberg’s theory of moral development in Section 2.2 and the moral development stage in which the main character appropriately belongs.