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Women Caught in Turkey’s Ideological Clashes

by İlknur Hacısoftaoğlu

GD 12.2

Women’s bodies have been at the center of various political debates throughout Turkey’s history as they have been in many other countries. In this paper, I will try to deal with different instances of how women’s bodies have become a canvas for different political conflicts. At the beginning of the twentieth century, in Turkey’s early republican construction period, the regime defined the “new woman” of the Republic. The social status of women and their bodily practices (for example, the choice of clothing, sports, and exercise) were brought together within the same formula. Women would fulfil their duties and responsibilities to the Turkish nation through their bodies and practices. In this period, one of the focal points in the discussion...

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12.2
3 issues a year in multiple languages

Latest Issue. GD 12.2, August 2022

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The Pandemic and “Digital Immigrants” in Turkey

GD 12.2

Turkey was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as much as the rest of the world, causing severe economic and social impacts on various social segments. In particular, the elderly (individuals 65 years and above), who are categorized as a disadvantaged group, were affected by this process differently compared to other social segments. As the impact of the pandemic increased, “ageism” also increased in line with the climate of fear, as Butler (1969) has pointed out. Ageism is defined as discriminating against people based on their age. Although the term has a similarity with racism, the most important difference is that every one of us will be old! The article focuses on the experiences of the elderly during the pandemic-related restrictions and, in particular, their experience of...

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Which Paths from Hyper-Globalization to Sustainable Cooperation?

GD 12.2

The social and ecological distortions of capitalist “hyper-globalization” (Dani Rodrik) have been the subject of much global sociological research, in particular, research on the mode of capitalist production, which generates different working conditions along its global supply and value chains. These chains are usually dominated by transnational corporations that have their headquarters in the states of the capitalist North and their supplier companies in the Global South. Asymmetries in global supply chains Global research has also shown massive violations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) core labor standards and basic human rights in the working conditions along these chains. Along the line from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the capitalist North to the producers of intermediate products (suppliers) in the Global South, a tendency towards poorer working conditions and higher health risks can be observed. This geographical disparity is complemented by different environmental factors that cause health hazards. Without the elimination of this glaring discrepancy between the reality of work and applicable legal and ethical norms, the transition from hyper-globalization to sustainable cooperation cannot succeed. The asymmetric structure in the distribution of workloads and health opportunities is consequently a recurring starting point for workers’ resistance and trade union initiatives to...

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Why Look Up? Karl Polanyi on Right-Wing “Populism”

GD 12.2

The recent rise of radical right-wing politics is often interpreted as a populist social protection movement by those left behind by neoliberal globalization. Social critics criticize progressive politicians and intellectuals who have accepted the market economy in the name of “the third way,” and who have instead focused on identity politics, such as gender and ethnicity, while ignoring social and economic class inequalities. As a solution, they suggest promoting “left-wing populism” as a way to reorient the lower-middle and working classes from radical right-wing rhetoric towards a more open and egalitarian progressive populism. The motivation for my article (“Look Up Rather Than...

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Learning from the Stories of Homicide Perpetrators

GD 12.2

Homicides have been addressed by a wide range of fields, from social sciences and psychology to law, literature, and cinema. The fascination with violence, as Oriana Binik says, is illustrated by the array of academic and lay theories that raise questions about how we think about this topic. However, demonizing, mythologizing, medicalizing or starting from the premise that the perpetrators’ actions are irrational has undermined the possibility to fully comprehend the social processes behind it. A central paradox in this topic is that homicide offenders’ stories and biographies are rarely studied, taking into account their own terms and logics. Extensive academic research has broadened the knowledge about the characteristics of violent deaths at the micro, meso, and macro...

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Delivery Work via Digital Platforms in Brazil

GD 12.2

Drawing on primary empirical data and sociological reflection, we investigate the impact of the pandemic on the working conditions of delivery workers in Brazil. We also seek to analyze whether this impact can influence workers’ subjective understanding of inequality. We start from the hypothesis that the health crisis has not created such inequality (internal to capitalism), but aggravated it. That is, it has potentialized the degradation of working conditions, focusing on working hours, payment and risks, and deepening the contradictions of the labor-capital conflict. In our empirical research, we use an original database, with a sample of one hundred digital platform deliverers in Brazil. These data were obtained by answers on Google Forms through social networks, focusing...

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The Sociology of Environmentalism in Turkey

GD 12.2

The course and forms of environmentalism in Turkey have progressed in parallel with the social transformation of the country as well as with its politics. With the transformation of environmentalism, it is possible to follow the struggles for the development of civil society, the ideological forms of neoliberalism, and the social divisions created by class differentiation, in addition to political debates. Although the history of social reactions to environmental problems in Turkey can be traced back to the end of the 1970s, the emergence of an organized environmentalism was only possible at the end of the 1980s. This first period of organized environmentalism contributed both to the destruction of the psychological barriers to social organization produced by the 1980 military coup ...

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COVID-19 and Middle-Class Consumption in Turkey

GD 12.2

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed societies, institutions, and everyday life in a sudden and very rapid manner. One after another, restrictions on social life by governments around the world have made the concepts of social distance and social isolation a part of everyday life. Life has been rearranged in all areas where we come together socially, from doing business to leisure activities, and this has entailed a change in routines, lifestyles, and consumption habits. This sudden shift has been witnessed especially among middle-class white-collar workers who, prior to the pandemic, routinely commuted to work, struggled with traffic jams, held face-to-face meetings, worked for set hours in an office, and regularly entered public spaces. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected...

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Gender In/Equality and Feminism in Turkey

GD 12.2

As a social construct, gender refers to the cultural, social, political, and economic distinction between social roles, which changes across time and space. Constructed through social institutions according to the socio-economic, cultural, and political needs of societies, gender regimes determine gender inequalities and hierarchies within socio-economic and political structures. Therefore, inequalities are neither natural nor biologically given but, instead, are socially constructed. As one of the fundamental human rights, gender equality refers to an equal chance of access to public, economic, political, and social resources, and to opportunities regardless of gender. Sociologist Nilay Çabuk Kaya defines it as the equal participation of women and men in every dimension of...

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