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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