Capitalism's housewife: A biographical narrative of state-sponsored empowerment from Southeast Turkey
Kübra Zeynep Sariaslan
(Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO))
Paper short abstract:
Through the life history of a housewife, this paper focuses on depoliticization of feminist claims, which are relevant to everyday lives of women living in the context of state-sponsored empowerment in Southeast Turkey.
Paper long abstract:
In this paper, I look at the ways in which women in Turkey make sense of and utilize the opportunities and narratives offered to them by state-sponsored development. More specifically, I aim to contextualize depoliticization of the empowerment rhetoric that contains transnational feminist claims of participatory democracy, equality, and justice, which are highly relevant to everyday lives of women in the locality of the Southeast Anatolia. For this aim, I rely on narratives of one particular housewife, which I derived from the interviews I conducted during a one-year ethnographic research in the region. The condensed biography and multiple belongings of the chosen research partner enable me to depart from one person's perspective to engage with and connect to broader political questions including 1) the unequal citizenship in relation to diverse ethnic belongings, 2) the centrality of waged work for gender equality for the women's movement on the national level, 3) the social policies of the central government that heavily rely on women's (un)paid domestic labour, and 4) the intimate politics of the ruling party that falls back upon an existing state repertoire and defines the ideal Kurdish woman as a housewife, who can spend her time to improve her feminine skills to serve her family in the best way possible without developing sympathy to the Kurdish movement dominant in the region.
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