Jenny White

Money Makes Us Relatives: Women's Labor in Urban Turkey

In the rural immigrant communities of Istanbul, poor women spend up to fifty hours a week producing goods for export, yet deny that they actually "work". Drawing on several years of ethnographic fieldwork among Turkish families, and using fascinating case studies, the author shows how women's paid work is viewed in terms of kinship relations of reciprocity and obligation -- an extension of domestic work for the family, which is culturally valued but poorly compensated. Women's participation in production networks secures their social identity and long-term security, but also reflects global capitalism's ability to capture local cultural norms, and to use these to lower production costs. Originally published in 1994, the 2004 edition includes comparative material on women's labor elsewhere in the world, and new material on Islam, globalization, gender, and Turkish family life.

"Extraordinary knowledge and understanding of Turkish society...a stimulating, interesting and thought-provoking analysis of urban culture." Ayse Gunes-Ayata, Contemporary Sociology

Selected Works

e.g. Fiction, History, Magazine Articles, etc. goes here
***Foreign Affairs: Best Books of 2012 on the Middle East*** What lies behind Turkey’s leap to international prominence under its Muslim government as an economic powerhouse and political player? Can Turkey be a model for the Arab Spring? The author approaches these issues historically and comparatively. She shows that the answers lie not just in the details of elections and political strategies, but in deeper cultural structures that make up the nation.
essays
My reflections on places I have traveled, people I have known, and subjects that interest me, from the secret life of cancer to ice cream making.
Fiction
A bank robbery and illegal weapons lead Kamil Pasha to uncover a plan to massacre an entire valley.
Nineteenth-century Istanbul thrills in this page-turner about a conspiracy to steal an ancient reliquary whose secret could change the world.
A powerful blend of murder, mystery and romance set in the Ottoman court.
Essay
A humorous look at the adventures of a scholar turned novelist.