Accepted Papers:

Chances and Challenges of Social Mobility in Provincial Turkey  

Author:

Goeren Ceren Deniz (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper aims to reveal the trajectories of social mobility of people who stayed behind in Çorum, an Anatolian province of Turkey where more than half of its population have migrated to larger cities and some of those who remained has thrived in the production and export of industrial machines.

Paper long abstract:

Turkey has experienced a very intensive rural to urban migration since the 1950s. Triggered by industrialization and modernization in agriculture, masses of rural migrants (White 2010) became actors of the rapid social change and urbanization in metropolitan cities (Stirling 1993) creating new trajectories for social mobility. Hence, the settlers' impact on the trends of urbanization, economic growth, identity formation has received scholarly attention a lot more than those populations who remained in their hometowns with limited chances of social mobility. In the popular imagery, "the province" signifies a unified and undifferentiated mass of people who are poor, backwards and deprived (Zeybek 2012). However, this imagery has been challenged as a result of their increasing economic and political power due to the reallocation of production to the peripheral locations and articulation to the global production chains since the late 1980s.

This paper aims to reveal the trajectories of social mobility of those people who stayed behind in Çorum, an Anatolian province of Turkey where more than half of its population have migrated to metropolitan cities in the last four decades and some of those who remained have thrived in the production and export of wheat- related industry machines. Based on my long-term ethnography in a family-run manufacture firm, I explore father-employers' and their family members' individual and collective desires and expectations for social mobility and status, and their failures and limitations within a paternalistic social structure that inevitably brings about power struggles among them based on age, gender roles and skill.

Panel P132
Social mobility in the neoliberal age: practices, relations, expectations, and desires