9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS13 Re-Assessing Class in Contemporary Sociology

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Class in Changing National Contexts Building I, 1E11

Social Class as Power Play and Status Games at the Local Level: Provincial Businessmen in Turkey

Social class as power play and status games at the local level: Provincial Businessmen in Turkey

We would like to present the findings of our research project about business class in five provincial cities namely Mugla, Ayd?n, and Denizli in the southwest; Gaziantep, and Kahramanmara in the southeast of Turkey. This provincial class of entrepreneurs had established earlier firms that were small or medium scale before 1980s; while most of the surveyed firms were established either in the post 1980 period or after 1990. At present, these firms can be identified as large-scale manufacturing industries. The research is based on oral history interviews with members of business class families. Drawing upon the oral history interviews with members of business families in these provinces, we want to discuss how cross-cutting mechanisms such as ethnicity and religious identities operate. The interviews show that Islamic and ethnic identities have become salient in struggles in the cultural field. In Turkey, while Western life styles and Kemalist ideology has been a marker of certain status recollections indicate that members of business class among the provincial bourgeoisie on the rise in the recent decades have taken their part within the status struggles, adopting Islamic lifestyles. Indeed, recollections show that not only preferences in clothing, eating and entertainment but also spatial and bodily practices are formed along the Islamic way of life. Furthermore, the struggle between the Kurdish and the Turkish businessmen in the economic and cultural fields of these cities highlights the interplay between class and other lines of social division.