Money Makes Us Relatives: Women's Labor in Urban Turkey

Synopsis

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.

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