Constructing new Turkey’s desired worker: the denial of social class in the AKP era

ABSTRACT

The process of intensification of authoritarianism in Turkey was characterized by the attempt to monopolize state power and marginalize the opposition. At the same time, however, the intensity of authoritarianism extended beyond the institutional level of the state and decisively affected many levels of social relations. This article analyses one of the many expressions of the relationship between authoritarianism and neoliberalism at social class level and the attempt to construct a disciplined working class committed to the state’s strategies. It focuses on the analysis of the content of ‘desired worker’ and ‘desired trade unionism’ which the AKP government tries to impose, aiming to intensify control over sections of labourers. Analysing the content of social class, but even more specifically the content the government aims to attribute to the concept of working class and trade unionism, this study contributes towards a more general understanding of the development of authoritarianism. Decoding the different perceptions and ways the Erdoğan government exploits them in order to shed them of their class content, this article aims at a better comprehension of power mechanisms and mechanisms reproducing social inequality.

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