Money Makes Us Relatives : Women's Labor in Urban Turkey book cover
2nd Edition

Money Makes Us Relatives
Women's Labor in Urban Turkey

ISBN 9780415326643
Published August 22, 2004 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

In the rural immigrant community of Istanbul, poor women spend up to fifty hours a week producing goods for export, yet deny that they actually 'work'. Money Makes Us Relatives asks why Turkish society devalues women's work, concealing its existence while creating a vast pool of cheap labor for the world market. Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork among family producers and pieceworkers, and using fascinating case studies throughout, Jenny B. White shows how women's paid work is viewed in terms of kinship relations of reciprocity and obligation - an extension of domestic work for the family, which is culturally valued but poorly compensated. Whilst offering the benefits of social identity and long-term security, women's work also reflects global capitalism's ability to capture local cultural norms, and to use these to lower production costs and create exploitative conditions.
This fully revised second edition includes a new introduction and conclusion, updated references, comparative material on women's labor elsewhere in the world, and brand new material on Islam, globalization, gender and Turkish family life. It is an important contribution to debates about women's participation in late global capitalism.



Jenny B. White is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, and has previously taught at the University of Nebraska and at Marmara University in Turkey. She is president-elect of the Turkish Studies Association and of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association.


'So full of insights and intriguing information that no novel could compete with it ... The exposition on the complex organisation of the Turkish family is the most thorough I have read.' - Gender and Society

'She has extraordinary knowledge and understanding of Turkish society ... Not many scholars studying Turkish society have been able to produce such a stimulating interesting and thought-provoking analysis of urban culture.' - Contemporary Sociology

'This excellent study challenges orthodox Marxist analysis of small-scale commodity production: it is a most welcome addition to gender, labor and Turkish studies.' - American Anthropologist

'This fascinating and lively study illuminates an important and intriguing aspect of contemporary Turkey.' - Choice

'Offers valuable ethnographic insights into the production process in family enterprises, and about the role of gender and family ideologies.' - International Journal of Middle East Studies