Crime and punishment in the age of bio-politics: Neoliberal governmentality in control societies
This article aims to explore the current transformations in the field of crime and punishment in relation to bio-politics, society of control, and neoliberalism. I argue that neoliberalism (as one of the key concepts explaning the current crime and punishment practices) should be placed within the broader context of bio-politics and society of control. Within this context it is argued that the dual or even contradictory character of the current transformation (the intensification of the punitiveness of state and the the increasing recourse to civil society and community control techniques) can be explained in relation to complex dynamics of bio-politics and the rise of neoliberalism as a new governmentality. Neoliberalism points to a managerial mentality which sees deviant behaviour not as a crime of the individual to be punished but as the deviancy of ‘dangerous classes’ to be arranged/regulated and controlled. The appearence of ‘dangerous classes’ is the main thrust combining the two pillars of the new penology. It is also the underlying reason behind the new tendency towards ‘racism’ in the field of crime and punishment.
How does a neoliberal market work?: Cotton, power and price
Drawing on the world cotton market as the empirical ground, the article documents how various global prices of cotton are produced as mercantile prostheses. Ethnographically analyzing price realization of cotton in spot, futures and options markets, the paper shows that world market prices are not set by the mere coming together of demand and supply, but produced as mercantile tools to realize actual transaction prices. Seen this way, Neoliberal markets emerge as techno-political contexts where relations of power are shaped by various tools of trading. In these contexts, neoclassical assumptions of how markets work become formative and institutionalized interventions to the very making of markets. Drawing on contemporary economic anthropology and sociology, the paper presents an alternative price theory that locates market process as a power relation whose logics of operation can be discernable by analyzing the production of exchange relation and its price realization itself. In conclusion, the article discusses the political implications and social scientific consequences of seeing the world price as a mercantile prosthesis.
Rethinking the civil society in Turkey: Neoliberal transformations and volunteerism
YASEMİN İPEK CAN
This article basically argues that the context of neoliberal policies and the parallel weakening of the state are considerably significant processes in interpreting civil society in post-1990 Turkey. Based on this argument, it offers to go beyond the problematic of democratization which has been the privileged focus of the academic discussions on civil society. Particularly following the tragic Marmara Earthquake of 1999, the civil society organizations (CSOs) which provide social services to people especially in the areas of health and education began to be promoted. Thus, these voluntary organizations and volunteerism have become decisive in defining the meaning and content of civil society. While the CSOs that criticize the policies of the State and make demands for more freedom, human rights or equality are marginalized, the voluntary organizations that present their support to the State by providing social services to people have increased their power and public visibility. Increasing cooperation between the state, private companies and citizens for effective government has transcended the supposed distinction between the state and civil society and also marked the beginning of new governmentality, i.e. neoliberal governmentality. This process also signifies the enhancing participation of the middle classes in social life and the parallel rise of volunteer subjectivity in defining the borders of the ideal citizenship.
For illuminating the complexities of this process, one of those organizations supporting the state on the area of education is studied. The official discourse of the organization is interpreted alongside in-depth interviews conducted with the volunteers working in the centers of the organization. In this process of interpretation, I problematized the projects and techniques deployed in the programs of the organization as well as the micro-practices articulated in volunteers’ relations to the children. This problematization delineates the discursive formation, which harmonizes the Kemalist aspiration to modernize the country with the neoliberal emphasis on self-responsibility and self-confidence. This discursive formation and the ensuing practices not only attempts to restructure the social space in the hierarchies of capable/incapable and governor/governed but also depoliticizes the whole set of political questions including forced migration and violence through a whole set of technical and psychological interventions. Besides, strategies of dealing with the urban problems of poverty and exclusion are discussed at length, leading us to rethink civil society and state in relation to the problems of power and inequality in post-1990 Turkey.
Moldavian migrant workers and rethinking the neoliberal state in Turkey
Based on the argument that it is important to “locate” power in historically constituted structures and that states are still important sites in analyzing and understanding political power, this paper aims to explore the transformation of the forms in which the Turkish state intervenes into economic and social life. It zooms on the various encounters that Moldavian migrant women, who have been coming to Turkey since the early 1990s, have with various law enforcement authorities.
In an attempt to avoid the polarity between state as set of disciplinary practices and as just one of the many sites of power and practices on the one hand, and state with structural coherence and purpose on the other, the paper reflects on the paradox of “the state” which is at once an incoherent, fragmented, contingent and multifaceted set of power relations and a significant instrument of massive domination/control. Indeed, the Turkish state appears to “enable” the flow of these migrant women through its visa policies while keeping up the appearances of a regulatory, controlling and coercive state through border controls, deportations, harassment and abuse.
The case of the Moldavian migrants who develop various social networks, personal contacts, and co-op the state authorities, many of whom become part of these social networks, points to the growing “fuzziness” of state boundaries: how the notions of public and private, legal and illegal, the political and the social are constantly blurred. With the once powerful state continuously undermined, state arrangements often remain incomplete, dispersed and contingent. Yet there is also the notion of the “continual formation of the state”, how the very process of upholding these boundaries between what is legal and criminal, what is private and public, what is sovereign and not, becomes a part of reproducing the state. Thus the state mutates, finding new avenues of intervention and control.
Turkish social policy environment today
This article discusses the recent transformations of the Turkish social policy environment by situating them in the context of new models of welfare governance that have emerged through the process of neoliberal globalization. It deals with the characteristics of this international setting by distinguishing between the cases of developed Welfare States in the North and the developmental states of the South. Against this background, it draws attention to the “divided citizenship” that characterizes the developmentalist policy environment in Turkey with a view to assess the outcome of the recent changes in policy outlook and implementation. Among these developments one finds the advent of a novel consciousness of social rights as well as the rise of modern forms of philanthropy that replace traditional charity relations. The article argues that these modern types of philanthropy would tend to block the trends toward the strengthening of social rights unless rights-based approaches to social policy are strongly advocated by organized groups.
Pioneers of pre-liberal and classical economic tought versus neoliberalism
A. DİNÇ ALADA
This article discusses the differences and the discontinuity between “old” liberal pioneers and the present neoliberal thinking. My thesis premises upon two maingrounds. Firstly, how old liberals treat government and public policy do not solely reflect their economical considerations but also their political, social and ethical priorities. Secondly, neoliberal economists employ the concepts of “uncertainty” and “instability” without attributing either philosophical or ethical significance to these rethorical concepts which reflects their monist attitude towards policy issues and weaken the conceptualization of social science as a whole. On the contrary, pre-liberal and classical liberals have been more open to multi-dimensional solutions for social and economical problems as there has always been well established connection between their political preferences and their philosophical and ethical approaches.
From the legitimation of power to the criticism of it: An analysis of corruption within the process of global capitalist institutionalization – The case of Turkey
This essay concerns the issue of corruption which has been widely discussed lately. The literature on corruption is state-based and this has political repercussions. Within this context, it will be argued that the ways of analyzing corruption functioned as a means of justifying the political, economical, institutional and legal arrangements and practices which are implemented on and via the state especially within the process of global capitalist institutionalization of the 1990’s. In opposition to the approaches that associate corruption and state, and that aim to transform the social structure in line with the requirements of the capitalist system by this way, it is asserted that corruption should be analyzed within the context of different levels of development of the capitalist system and the relations of different periods of capital accumulation. Such an analysis is possible within a methodological framework which focuses on the relation of corruption with structural dynamics rather than the factually limited methodological approach of mainstream studies on corruption. Such a framework will provide the possibility of criticizing power as long as it figures out the relation between corruption and the structural dynamics of the capitalist system. This argument will be evaluated with reference to the issue of corruption in Turkey after 1980.
The invisible face of waste collection: The working and living conditions of street collectors in Beyoğlu
SİBEL YARDIMCI – ALİ SALTAN
This paper draws upon a research conducted as part of a project titled ‘The Invisible Face of Waste Collection’. As the title hints at, the project aimed at revealing the living and working conditions of ‘street collectors’ – a name we preferred to use instead of the typical ‘scavenger’, not only to denote the specific nature of their work, but also as a means to leave aside the stereotypes surrounding it.
Street collectors earn a living by collecting recyclable materials (plastic, glass, metals, paper) from public bins and selling them to depots. The latter, then, act as mediators between individual collectors and factories which buy these materials as inputs. This process remains unrecorded until the recyclable materials are bought by factories. It is therefore very hard to calculate the total profit generated as such or collectors’ exact contribution to recycling. Neither it is possible to estimate accurately the number of people working in this sector. Moreover, the field is marked by an internal diversity that we observed in the composition of collectors across different cities/neighbourhoods. This paper aims to shed light on this invisible face of waste collection, emphasising collectors’ contribution to the economy and the protection of natural resources as much as the difficulty of their situation.
State, border, aﬂiret: Re-construction of aﬂiret as an ethnic identity
H. NEŞE ÖZGEN
In this essay, I am going to discuss how twokoçer (nomadic) Kurdish aﬂirets (tribes) have constructed their ethnic identities and how they have maintained their existence as an aﬂiret through their relations with both PKK and the state. Through their adventures of settlement and of becoming an aﬂiret since the beginning of the Turkish Republic -perhaps before that- I will discuss why and how their Kurdishness could be the basis for either national or ethnic claims. Thirdly, I want to state that, apart from being a nostalgia and taking its base from this very nature, aﬂiret can be taken as an ethnic arena and it can constitute a convenient ground for the construction of national identity. Considering the combination of all these arguments, lastly, I will come up with the idea that it will be misleading to situate ethnicity merely under the frame of identity, or in contrast, to perceive ethnicity merely as an identity problem.
The above-mentioned discussion is an appropriate point of departure for elaborating on the struggle between the PKK and the state considering that this conflict is mainly predicated upon claims over ethnic identities. Henceforth, identity that equals to the policy of ethnicity cannot reflect the experiences reviewed above. Even if Kurdishness which is considered to be the wild other that resists being indigo, and ethnicity which is thought of as a local other (folkloric other) as it fulfilled the conditions of museumasing have complemented each other, the transformation of both ethnicity and Kurdishness, as a national identity is ignored not only by the state, but also by its opposite.
This process elucidates that political subjectivity constructed upon Kurdishness is limited and is rather dependent on power balances, and that to cast an eye on the aﬂiret so as to see an activity which is janus-faced, double edged and government oriented is significant. Moreover, the diverse dimensions and outcomes of the struggle renders visible and invisible that Kurdishnesses can exist politically in a realm that is fairly different from aﬂiret’s construction of ethnic identity.