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.