The historical roots of the provincial bourgeoisie in Turkey
This article is based on research which was carried out in five cities in Turkey, namely, Muğla, Aydın, Denizli, Gaziantep, and Kahramanmaraş, oral history interviews with members of locally notable families and interviews with persons influential in the industrial, commercial and cultural lives of these cities. The question of whether the influence of locally notable families still persists is investigated through data collected and the oral narratives of these interviews, and is evaluated basically according to different paths to social class formation such as the bourgeois business class and rentiers or educated middle classes. According to the findings of the research, even though historically notable local families have significantly influenced the formation of a local bourgeoisie in Turkey, new groups of capitalists and entrepreneurs that have grown and integrated with the global economy in the economic process after the 1980s have also become urban actors. In different generations of notable local families, the changes in education, occupational choice, entrepreneurship and businessman identity, as well as in political choices show that local notable families still have influence on the formation of the local elite and urban middle class in provincial cities in Turkey and they exploit different strategies to mark their difference and maintain their influence in the social sphere, if not in the economic sphere today.
Keywords: Social class, social mobility, local elite, provincial bourgeoisie, middle classes, locally notable families, Anatolian tigers, Bourdieu, cultural capital, symbolic capital
The space of lifestyles in provincial cities: Culture and distinction
This article is based on research about eşraf and businessmen in three provincial cities, namely Denizli, Gaziantep, and Kahramanmaraş. Drawing upon the oral history and in depth interviews with members of eşraf and business families in these provinces, the article identifies the effect of religion and ethnicity on cultural preferences and taste. The interviews show that while Western life styles and the Kemalist ideology had previously been markers of status, recent accounts indicate that businessmen among the provincial bourgeoisie on the rise in the recent decades have taken their part within the symbolic struggles, adopting Islamic lifestyles. Moreover, the interviews with the businessmen highlight the interplay between class and other lines of social division such as ethnicity. Drawing on theories on the relationship between class and cultural consumption the article argues that ethnicity and religiosity play an important role in shaping cultural identifications.
Keywords: Cultural capital, taste, ethnicity, Islamic lifestyles
Women’s role in struggles for status waged by locally notable families
This article is based upon the data collected in our research project conducted in Denizli, Aydın, Muğla, Kahramanmaraş and Gaziantep and entitled “The Role of Local Notables in the Formation of a Provincial Bourgeoisie and Middle Classes in Provincial Towns in Turkey” (Durakbaşa, Karadağ, and Özsan, 2008, funded by TÜBİTAK). Elaborating upon interviews held with women of locally notable (eşraf) families, the article aims to demonstrate the significance of these women’s activities in struggles for status waged by these families. The roles assumed by women within locally notable families are of crucial importance in their relationships with both local and administrative elites (various groups of government officials) on the one hand, and lower-status families in provincial towns on the other. The abovementioned women assume fundamental roles in the formation of social capital and the conversion of various forms of capital. The primary argument of this article is that it is women that act as constitutive agents for the identity of eşraf within these families. These women try to become empowered within the family while acting as pivotal agents for the betterment of class positions of their families. It is claimed that women from locally notable families simultaneously seek to empower both positions, thus gender and class identities intertwine in their struggles.
Keywords: Local notables, locally notable families, status, struggle for status, women’s positions, social capital, and cultural capital
Contemporary Turkish business environment
AYŞE BUĞRA - OSMAN SAVAŞKAN
This article investigates the contemporary Turkish business environment shaped by the economic, political and cultural transformations of the past 30 years. The changes in the forms and mechanisms of state intervention in the economy, the spatial relocation of industry and the rise of Anatolian capital, the cleavages within the business community generated by the increasing salience of Islam in society and politics are some of the interrelated themes that will be pursued in the article. In this context, we draw attention to the continuing significance of state intervention, albeit in different forms and through new mechanisms. In fact, a new group of state-created businessmen can be said to emerge under the new circumstances in ways which are reminiscent of the earlier trends in the Republican business history. Today, economic and political relations at the local level have acquired a novel significance which cannot be overlooked in the analysis of state-business relations. It seems important, however, not to exaggerate the significance of these relations within the national economy and the dynamics of state-business relations. It also seems important to go beyond the sweeping generalisations about the “conservative Anatolian bourgeoisie” to see how different configurations of interest and class strategies characterize and shape the contemporary business community in its complexity.
Keywords: Industrial relocation, state-business relations, voluntary business associations, conservative Anatolian bourgeoisie, newly rising business groups
The periphery of Kemalism: The Party, state, and society in early Republican Turkey
This article focuses on the local political dynamics of the early Republican era. Taking under close scrutiny the local organizations of the Republican People’s Party, it aims to shed light on the unexplored aspects of early Republican politics, i.e. the social composition of the local party administrations, the intra-party rivalries, social contestations over the party organizations in localities, relations between the party and state administrations, and the organizational strength of the party in remote parts of the country. Its preliminary conclusion is that the official image of the RPP and the Kemalist elite as a bureaucratic, strong, disciplined, well-organized, well-equipped, homogenous and monolithic entity did not represent the characteristics of the local party and state apparatuses. Drawing on the local intra-party rivalries, manipulation of the party and state administrations by local social dynamics, tensions between the local party and state authorities, and the organizational weaknesses of the party and the state, this article argues that these local realities of the party and the state might have likely compelled the central elite to merge the party with the state in 1936.
The Kemalist elite and the RPP in the early Republican era have usually been evaluated according to the model of the central party organization. The relatively coherent, strong party organizations and homogenous social compositions of the party membership in the capital city and a few urban centers have led scholars to believe that the central party administration and the Republican elite exerted great influence over the entire party organization throughout the country. However, a closer look at the localities has made it difficult to argue that the central elite managed to fully control local party branches, state administration and local social dynamics.
Rather than the central bureaucratic elite, mostly the informal interest groups including influential and wealthy households and persons in localities directed, influenced, and manipulated the party and state apparatuses. That is to say, rather than being a bureaucratic extension of the central elite, the local party organizations constituted contestation terrains on which conflicting and rival interest groups competed with each other for economic interests and political power. Therefore, several conflicts, quarrels, and even fights broke out among local party administrators and party members. Furthermore, many local interest groups and influential households outside the party tried to take control of or manipulate the party and state administrations. In addition, the state administrators cemented strong ties with local wealthy families and were involved in local politics. Therefore, the center did not manage to establish a harmonious relationship between the party and local state authorities in many places. Finally, in contrast with the strong, well-organized and well-equipped image of the party organizations in a limited number of urban centers, the local party branches throughout Anatolia were mostly deprived of even basic equipment, infrastructure, organizational strength, and financial power to carry out their tasks. The deficiencies of the local party organizations usually do not comply with a strong, disciplined, and bureaucratic party ascribed to it by scholars.
Keywords: Republican People’s Party, Kemalism, early Republican era, single-party period, political life in localities, center-periphery relations, local administrations
Nation-state, surveillance and population registration systems in Turkey
This paper argues that the stories about the production and the use of population knowledge are an important yet neglected area of interest in social sciences. Nation-states produce and use population knowledge for planning the welfare services as well as for maintaining the social order, which requires social control and surveillance of individual citizens. Here, I summarize the development of population knowledge since the 19th century Ottoman era, by pointing out the important breaking points in terms of state-surveillance. Population registration based on addresses and public knowledge sharing systems created the opportunity to have rich information about every individual citizen. At the same time, the availability of such rich population knowledge will serve to further the domination of national and transnational powers on individuals and groups through nation-states.
Keywords: Population, surveillance, nation-state, population registration system, population censuses, unregistered population
The history of population politics and women in Turkey
ELİF EKİN AKŞİT
This article argues that population politics should be understood as a century-long effort of the modern state to regulate women’s bodies. The connection between state figures and bodies can only be restored by understanding such politics in a wide array of different governments as well as different states with stories of continuity and rupture, such as the Ottoman and Turkish states. This essay focuses on population politics and women in the twentieth century from the 1870’s to 1970’s. This longué duréé is presented for further studies to evaluate the population politics of the recent Justice and Development Party.
Keywords: Population, women, history, pronatalism, antinatalism, biopolitics
The impact of the social security reform on the labor market in Turkey
ASLIHAN AYKAÇ YANARDAĞ
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the social security reform gradually taking effect in Turkey in terms of its impact on the labor market. Social security systems include a variety of services for workers such as savings, pensions and health care and provide basic coverage for the non-working segments of the society. The services provided for workers not only regulate the working conditions and the long-term returns of the work period especially through the pension system, but also have structural implications for the labor market. In this sense, social security systems need to establish a reciprocal relationship with the labor market. However, the financial concerns of the social security system jeopardize the social dimension of social security provision. On the other hand, the transformation of national economies under globalization and their modes of integration with the global economy indicates that labor markets are to a great extent under the influence of global dynamics, especially seen in the impact of flexible accumulation as the dominant mode of production on employment patterns, working conditions and the social composition of the labor force. Therefore, social security systems develop a unique relationship and reciprocity with labor markets, directly shaped by the historical milieu. Social security systems need to be analyzed with respect to the historical context of the systems they exist in.This article makes a conceptual introduction to social security systems and labor markets. The relationship between the two structures is further illustrated with cases from different systems. Next, the social security reform in Turkey is evaluated with respect to contemporary transformations in the labor market. On a micro level, sector-based comparisons of agriculture, tourism and textiles help to demonstrate the diversity of the labor issues that need to be addressed by the social security reform in Turkey. Finally, the success of the social security reform in meeting the needs of the labor market is critically evaluated with policy suggestions to further enhance its impact on the labor market.
Keywords: Social security systems, labor market, globalization and labor, agriculture, tourism, textiles
When does mourning unite the society: Living with traumas in Turkey
This paper tries to answer the question “what keeps Turkish society together?” or “what maintains the social fabric of Turkish society?”. I will discuss whether common history as the constituting element of the social, common traumas and mourningcould be the answers to these questions. Such a debate necessitates touching upon the functioning of emotions as social phenomena. This means looking at “the economy politics of the emotions.” In this context, some new ideas and meanings related to Turkish society inspired by Max Scheller’s concept of “resentment” will be developed. I will reconsider the sources of the feeling of impotence as a basic element of the subjectivites of women and men from different classes, with its effects on the perceptions of the self and the world. At the same time, I will try to point out the potentials and horizons of “compassion” as a political concept and one of the most critical fields of collectivity.
Keywords: Mourning, trauma, resentment, memory, Turkishness