Issue 16 – Everyday Life and Labour Processes

Editors: Besime Şen, Bülent Batuman, Nazır Kapusuz, Nevra Akdemir, Sinan Yıldırmaz, Tolga Tören

Productive and Unproductive Labour: An Attempt at Clarification and Classification
Sungur Savran, E. Ahmet Tonak

This article starts out by trying to demonstrate why the distinction between productive and unproductive labour (PUPL) is crucial, both for the analysis of the trajectory of capitalism in general and for an understanding of the peculiar features of late twentieth century capitalism. Subsequent sections provide the necessary clarification about the distinction between PUPL by focusing on the concepts ‘productive labour in general’ and ‘productive labour for Capital’ and attempt to classify all major types of labour in capitalism accordingly. The essay also deals with thorny questions about the status of labour in the services sector and state provision of social services. The last section addresses some common criticisms found in the literature concerning Marx’s distinction between productive and unproductive labour.

Keywords: productivity, labor economics, capitalism, public sector, social services, Marxism.

Labour and Everyday Life in Lukâcs’s Ontology
Ateş Uslu

György Lukács’s posthumous work, Towards an Ontology of Social Being, focuses on the importance of everyday life as the starting point of a global, critical analysis of the categories of social being. In Lukács’s ontology, being is structured by three main areas: inorganic nature, organic nature and social being. The man, as a biological being, is initially part of organic nature, but he passes to the sphere of social being, as well as he transforms the nature arounding him, by his own labour. İn that way, during the process of “humanisation” -or “socialisation”- of man, human labour gains the attribute of the main mediation between nature and social being. The first part of this paper studies the methodological problems around the concept of ontology, and the implications of the concept of everyday life as a matter of method. In the second part, the article deals with a general description of the Ontology’s chapters on labour. The last part makes a study of the political aspects of Lukács’s analysis of labour and everyday life: focusing on the theses exposed in the Process of Democratization (a companion volume to the Ontology, written in the same period), the paper discusses the questions of bourgeois democracy, Stalinism and socialist democracy within the frame of everyday life.

Keywords: György Lukács, Marxism, ontology, labor, everyday life.

Colonising Desires: Bodies for Sale, Exploitation and (in)Security in Desire Industries
Anna M. Agathangelou

Desire industries have emerged as a major social relation of seduction under the Neoliberal Imperium. Through the household domestic and entertainment reproductive sectors, the desire industries promise fulfilment, while intimately tying freedom and prosperity with securitisation for individuals and States alike and preserving wealth through access to the market the State, and masculine power for what comes to be constituted as the bourgeois and white elite. More concretely, this paper examines how the”higher income generating”peripheries of Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey actively participate in bringing female migrant labour from “lower income generating”countries. Albeit in contradictory ways, these countries work toward realising the historical tendencies of Capital by feminising, racialising, sexualising, and constituting the subject of exploitation as a threat to the (re)production of the neoliberal imperium’s relations. Through the “import” and exploitation of cheap reproductive labour for what is referred to in this article as the “desire” or sex industries, these peripheries work toward realising the (re)production of neoliberalism, albeit with strategies, activities, contestations, and struggles. Female migrants face daily violence as their labour is exploited to realise the historical tendencies of Capital, and yet, these working class migrant women exceed capital’s push and attempt to seize their corporeal bodies, and/or appropriate their feminine labour. They invest time and energy toward constituting communities that do not exploit, violate, appropriate, and indeed, kill their bodies. In moving to realise this potential, the Creative power of labourers, as producers of their own communities, is crucial toward social and self-affirmation and social and self-realisation.

Keywords: desire industries, sex industries, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey.

The Relationship of Everyday Life with Capital Accumulation and Labour Process in Kayseri
Ali Ekber Doğan

This study mainly perceived on the relationship betvveen new labour processes and daily life as a platform of its social reproduction. And one of our Central premises is about the key role of the activities and spatial practices of conservative and traditionalist political actors for the socialization (or the naturalization) of neo-liberalism on the eye of urban labourers and poors as extended social fragments of cities around the world. Firstly, I examine the historical process (especially socio-political conjuncture of 1960’s and 1968 Movement) that links up the Lefebvre’s critique of daily life to the analysis of the production of space. Then, I tried to $how the condition of labour classes with the specific type of capital accumulation and labour process in Kayseri, that has been entered a new industrialisation process like some other Anatolian cities since 1990’s. Kayseri also became as important and popular loci of newly enriched religionist businessmen (known as KOBI owners -small and medium level businessmen-).and Islamist municipalities of Turkey. Finally, I tried evaluate how dominant space representation project of Islamist political actors at Kayseri suited with labour control mechanisms of those businessmen.

Keywords: capital accumulation, everyday life, production of space, Kayseri, Turkey.

Informal Networks in Street Vending and UnequaI Development of Labor Process in Bursa
Işın Ulaş Ertuğrul

The significance of informal economic activities has been increasing since the early 1970s. These activities become widespread worldwide are Increasingly related to the informalization process of the formal economic sphere. More and more multinational corporations and local firms have begun to segment their production and distribution units through the small firms. The rational is that the small firms could more easily avoid from the official Controls than those of larger firms. Therefore, the subcontracting has been the dominant form of production. On the other hand, many firms have realized their distribution activities by means of Street vendors. Today, the Street vending activity is being enlarged due to internal migration and reproduced by means of informal networks which are effective on solving housing and employment problems for migrants. The main argument of this study is that the working process of the Street vending develops unequally. The findings of this case study carried out in Bursa, show that while many of the poor could afford their everyday lives by the means of Street vending activity, the hierarchically established relationship between them causes gaining substantial amount of accumulation for some ones.

Keywords:  labor process, informal labor, peddling, Bursa, Turkey.

Subcontracting in Labour Processes and the Example of Tuzla Shipyards Region

Nevra Akdemir

The focus of this article is the interrelations of the subcontracting firm, subcontract labour and the shipyard that hires subcontractor (a kind of subcontract as tâcheron Ifr.I) in a system that may be referred as the subcontracting system in the Tuzla Shipyards Region. In order to assess the relations of production through a holistic view, the subcontracting relations other than the main one will also be examined. By this means, the first section aims to examine the capital accumulation potentials and the relations within the sides that take place in the subcontracts of the shipyard with regards to their positions in this area. The second section in which the labour processes are evaluated, the attempt is providing information on the present conditions of the subcontracting employers/ formen and the working relations of the subcontract labourers.

Keywords:  labor process, subcontract work, exploitation, Tuzla shipyard, Istanbul, Turkey.

A General Outlook to the Employment Tendencies in Turkey during the 1988-2003 Period
Hakan Koçak

This paper is an attempt to observe and analyze the changes in the employment structure in relation with the transformation of the social basis of the social classes by using a set of data, which is not considered important sufficiently in our country. The Results of Labour Force Surveys on Household Basis, in the Labour Force Statistics Data, which covers the period of 1988-2003, enables to obtain data series in a determined time period by a detailed cross-examination. These series enable us to see some important details on the transformation tendencies of the employment structure of Turkey. In the first part of the study, general changes in the labour force and the employment structure are told; and the transformation tendencies on sectors and professions are described. In the following part, an attempt of class-based explanation of the transformation is done with applying the data to the categories of a class-scheme. A general Outlook of the period in question indicates that, fundamental changes are experienced in the employment structure. The main characteristics of these changes are firstly the decrease in the rates of employment, and secondly disintegration in the unpaid family workers of the rural areas and increase in the paid employment. In addition to those, the results put forward that the working class of Turkey is heterogeneous but gradually growing social force in the capitalist relations of production.These results can also be useful indicators to the working class movement on the way to determine their strategies and new fields of organization and will give confidence to their struggle.

Keywords:  employment trends, hiring, neoliberalism, capital accumulation, Turkish economy.

Working Class People in the Urban Areas during the SecondWorld War in Turkey

Can Nacar

Although Turkey did not become a part of the military conflict in the World War II, wartime conditions heavily affected the economic, political, and social life in the country. Large segments of the society were hard hit by the wartime scarcities, high levels of inflation, and decreasing real wages. Amongst them, this article focuses on the experiences of working class people in urban areas. Although in most cases working class people laboured long hours in unhealthy environments, they faced great difficulties in meeting their basic needs, such as accommodation, food and education. However, they did not remain mere objects of the social circumstances. Their struggle, in the form of strikes, petitions, and high turnover rates, to challenge the social relations imposed on them became a critical dynamic in the formulation of social and economic policies in Turkey in the post-War era.

Keywords: World War II, working class, social inequality, labor history, Turkey.

Issue 15 – Marxism and Scale Question

Editors: Hülya Kendir, İbrahim Gündoğdu, Koray Yılmaz, Mustafa Kemal Bayırbağ, Selime Güzelsarı, Tarık Şengül

On Contributions of the ‘Scalar Approach’ in Explaining the Rise of Cities and Regions
Mustafa Kemal Bayırbağ

Mustafa Kemal Bayırbağ’s article discusses the contributions the scale approach offers in understanding the increasing significance of cities and regions as sites of policy-making and as political actors.The article begins with a critical evaluation of the popular perspective on this phenomenon, and benefiting from the openings introduced by the concept of scale, proceeds to discuss how a marxist framework of analysis with a hegemony perspective could be constructed. The main argument is that rise of localities is a part and product of the re-scaling process of the capitalist State. Yet, this is not an external response to the transformation of the capitalist state. The re-scaling of the capitalist State indicates that the hegemonic balance of power, including the local interests defıned around a certain Capital accumulation strategy has been transforming. In this sense, local interests are in a position to directly shape the re-scaling process of the capitalist State. Yet, this becomes possible through the construction of the locality as a political actor by these interests. In the neoliberal context, the social group which assumes this role is the dominant fraction of the local bourgeoisie. At this point, the scale literature makes an important observation: agents and institutions established at the local and non-local scales with different interests increasingly interact with each other at the local scale and stretch the boundaries of local politics to non-local scales. For this reason, political mobilisations aiming to establish their locality as an agent can become successful only by pursuing an effective politics of scale aimed at influencing the non-local agents and the processes producing non-local scales. In this sense, to be able to comprehend the increasing important of localities as policy-makers, the question of local politic s needs to be losely investigated. That sort of a research project should concentrate particularly on the changing role of institutions like labour unions and business chambers in local politics, and the political strategles of scale they follow, due to the fact that they are located on the hegemonic boundary between the state and civll society, now re-drawn with the re-scaling of the capitalist State.

Keywords:  question of scale, cities, regions, uneven development, Marxist geography.

Realistic Spatial Abstractlon? Marxist Obsarvations of a Claim within Critical Realist Geography
John Micheal Roberts

Critical realism has attracted substantial interest and following within social geography for a number years. A principal reason for this popularity lies with the critical realist method of abstraction. This method seeks to abstract the underlying causal powers of an object for social analysis at different levels of abstraction. The theoretical movement from the underlying reality of an object to its contingent and everyday appearance therefore enables geographers to explore different spatial scales of the same concrete object of analysis. This ability to take seriously an ‘underlying reality’ also enables geographers to spatialize, and embed themselves within, a radical heritage beginning with Marx. In this paper I wish to question the methodological power of criticaI realism for social geographical thought. By recourse to Hegel, Marx and Lefebvre, I want to show that critical realists and criticaI realist geographers in fact pursue different methodological projects to that of Marxism. Whereas Marxists seek to explore the self-movement of o contradictory essence, critical realists and critical realist geographers seek to explore the external and relational connection between causal powers. I argue that within this critical realist exploration there is a tendency to present a rather static account of essence, or causal powers, because of the non-dialectical and dualist assumptions about the world that such an account encourages. It is an account, moreover, which can lead to a somewhat impoverished radical social theory.

Keywords:  abstraction, critical realism, hegemony, Marxism, totality.

Changing Scale as Changing Class Relations: Variety and Contradictions in the Politics of Scale
Jamie Gough

This paper argues that changes of scale in political-economic processes are often associated with changes in class relations, articulated by particular class projects, and developed through class struggle. Such ‘jumping of scale’ may be not only an expression of class power but a constitutive element of it. But there is no simple one-to-one relation between scale change and class relations: a particular change in scale at a particular time may have multiple potential class implications. This argument is developed by considering two ‘stylised histories’ within Western Europe during the present long wave of stagnation: shifts of economic governance from the national to the local level, and shifts from the national to the EU level. I argue that in both cases changes in the scale of regulation have been associated with shifts in class relations. But both upward and downward rescaling have been associated with (at least) two class projects, the neoliberal and the social-democratic. Thus not only have the scale changes been contested but the lines of conflict have been complex. The two histories are used to reflect at a more abstract level on theinterconnections of scale, class relations and contradictions in accumulation. Developing an argument of Neil Smith, I argue that shifts in scale have been underpinned by a number of fundamental contradictions of capitalist reproduction and the State which open up diverse political possibilities. Class agents intervened into these contradictions, with varied political projects, partly through shifting their scales.

Keywords: Class relations, Capitalist contradictions, Neoliberalism, Social democracy, European Union.

Scale as a Class Relationship and Process: The Case of Turkish Public Procurement Law
Fuat Ercan-Şebnem Oğuz

In this study we focus on tvvo problematic aspects of the recent rescaling literature: overgeneralization of abstractions rather than examination of concrete class forces; and unidirectional understanding of the relationship between rescaling processes in the core and periphery, where rescaling is seen as an outcome of the uneven development of capitalist based on the tendency of overaccumulated capitals in the core to move to the periphery. We suggest an alternative approach that conceives rescaling as a class relationship and process shaped by the contradictory interaction between global capitals in the core and newly growing capitals in the periphery. Through a study of the formation and transformation of the public procurement law in Turkey (2001-2005), we illustrate that the rescaling of the Turkish public procurement market was not only shaped by global capitals unidirectionally, but through their contradictory interaction with the domestic capitals in Turkey. Although the initial law was formed under the hegemony of global capitals, the AKP government then made many attempts to change the law in line with the demands of domestic Capital groups. In this process, scale was shaped by the unequal but mutual power relationships between global and domestic Capital groups.

Keywords: Law of Public Tender, Turkey, class relations, capitalism, neoliberalism.

Towards a Critical Development Comprehension Rethinking Development in the Context of Scale Question
Koray R. Yılmaz

In the last two decades, it has observed a tendency from national development to local/regional development. İn this article we aim to explain this tendency in the context of scale question. We argue that this tendency should be understood as a process of rescaling of development. It is expected that this point of departure can allow us a more critical development comprehension.

Keywords:  capitalism, development, question of scale, critical development theory, Marxism.

The Other Scale Debate of Marxism: “Socialism in One Country” or World Revolution?
Sungur Savran

This article undertakes to clarify the question regarding the scale of the overthrowing of capitalism and the construction of a classless society, by now an almost classical scale debate within Marxism, one that predates the current hoşt of questions that relate to scale. The author deliberately avoids including Trotsky and the Stalin-Trotsky debate in the argument, but rather concentrates on the ideas of Marx and Engels and of Lenin and the Bolsheviks and compares and contrasts these with those of the major faction of the Bolshevik Party under Stalin. It is argued that both in the case of Marx and Engels and in that of the Bolsheviks, the whole edifice of the theory rises on the basis of the Central idea of a world revolution. The author cites clear evidence that both the programmatic documents and the theoretical work of all Marxists up until 1928, when “socialism in one country” became the centerpiece of the Comintern programme, were explicit on the necessity of world revolution and the rejection of any ideas implying the final construction of a classless society within the borders of a single country. The article further examines the foundations of the theory and programme of “socialism in one country” and finds them extremely fragile, if not outright unsustainable. The final verdict of the article is that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern and Central Europe confirms the truth of Marxism rather than refutes it.

Keywords: Marxism, Stalinism, combined and uneven development, world revolution, Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky, Permanent Revolution, and Eastern Europe

Ateş Uslu

There is a tendency to reduce Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution to its aspect of “Stalin-Trotsky debate”. Thus, Trotsky’s revolutionary strategy is discussed as a merely doctrinal issue, and its historical context is neglected. The paper’s main aim is to contribute to the historicisation of the debates on Trotsky s theory, an to analyse, in this aim, Trotsky’s revolutionary theory and practice in its relationship with the context of Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe (i.e., the region covering Poland, eastern confines of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as Estonia and Latvia) was, in the late 19th century, a complex of nationalities, and was geographically related to Central and Western Europe. All these characteristics made Eastern Europe a specific context, which determined some aspects of Trotsky’s theories. In the first part, the paper analyses the specificities of Eastern Europe -i.e., the legacy of the Commonwealth of Two Nations, the characteristics of urban development, and the nexus between nationalist and socialist movements, etc. The second part is concentrated on the Revolution of 1905 and its aftermath; and the third part makes an analysis of Trotsky’s activities in Bolshevik Revolution, in the Civil War, and in the Polish War of 1919-20.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, world revolution, Leon Trotsky, Stalinism, Marxism.

The Theories of Imperialism and the Internationalization of Capital
Özgür Öztürk

This paper tries to periodize the Marxist theories of imperialism, and to determine the continuity/discontinuity relations between the theorethical periods. It is stated that the Marxist theories of imperialism emerged in three main historical ‘waves’, and that the differences in emphasis between the different waves resulted from the different stages of the internationalization of Capital. The first wave of theories, also known as the classical theories of imperialism, has been formulated at the beginning of the 20th century; in this period the internationalization of money-capital has been remarkable, but the international movement of productive capital has been limited. Second wave of theories, put forward in 1960s and 70s, has generally been formulated within the underdevelopment literature and has focused on development-industrialisation instead of ‘capitalist development’. The internationalization of productive capital and the start of industrial accumulation in the third world has been determinant for the second wave of theories. The paper lastly deals with the recent theories of new imperialism. New theories seem to be the product of a period in which the movement of money-capital has accelerated.
Keywords: theories of imperialism, Marxism, internationalization of capital, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg.

The Limits to Scale? Methodological Refltctions on Scalar Structuration
Neil Brenner

Fruitful new avenues of theorization and research ha ve been opened by recent writings on the production of geographical scale. However, this outpouring of research on scale production and on rescaling process has been accompanied by a notable analytical blunting of the concept of geographical scale as it has been blended unreflexively into other core geographical concepts such as place, locality, territory and space. This essay explores this methodological danger: first, through a critical reading of Sallie Marston’s (2000) recent article in this journal on “The social construction of scale” second, through a critical examination of the influential notion of a politics “of” scale. A concluding section suggests that our theoretical grasp of geographical scale could be significantly advanced if scaling processes are distinguished more precisely from other major dimensions of sociospatial structuratlon under capitalism. Eleven methodological hypotheses for confronting this task are then proposed.

Keywords: geographical scale, rescaling, production of space, sociospatial theory, structuration.

Islands of Practise and the Marston/Brenner Debate: Towards a More Synthetic Critical Human Geography
Mark Purcell

This paper argues that an important obstacle to the continued development of critical human geography are ‘islands of practice’, through which scholars become embedded in a research and writing tradition that limits their intellectual and political horizons. I use a recent nondebate in Progress in Human Geography between Sallie Marston and Neil Brenner as an illustration of how islands of practice can stifle intellectual exchange. The paper suggests that the best way to dissolve the islands is a methodological program to create a more synthetic approach that consciously integrates multiple aspects of the critical project.

Keywords: collaborative research, critical geography, methodology, scale.

Capitalism Communication and Development
Gamze Yücesan-Ali Murat Özdemir-Mete Yıldız

This study aims to examine the discourse on “information technologles and development” brought recently to the agenda by international organisations and by development institutes providing information to these organisations and its methodology, its indicators and its policy recommendations. The discourse on “information technologles and development”, while analysing the role and importance of information technologies for development only describes some aspects of the “reality” and leaves the main determinants of the “reality” in darkness. This study argues that economic, political and ideological mechanisms which are  “not seen” and “not considered” and the terms such as class, capitalist production relations, unequal development of capitalism, international division of labour and gender which enable the construction of these mechanisms should be included into the analysis in order to be able to analyse and explain the relation between “information technologies and development”.

Keywords: capitalism, communication, development, Marxism.