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The Political Incorporation of Labor in Turkey: Tracing the Origins of a Nationalist Path

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 October 2020

Fulya Apaydin*
Affiliation:
Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, Spain
Erol Ülker
Affiliation:
Işık University, Istanbul, Turkey
*
*Corresponding author. Email: fapaydin@ibei.org

Abstract

This study makes an important contribution to the literature on labor incorporation in developing areas based on existing historiography and archival material from Turkey. Specifically, we argue that the political incorporation of labor during the early period of state building is strongly influenced by elite preferences over who constitutes the nation. In doing so, we address a neglected dimension by putting the emphasis on ethnoreligious politics: the founders of modern Turkey pushed for a homogenizing program that prioritized Muslim-Turks over other minority groups, eventually paving the way to the state-led incorporation of labor. This is different from the experience of most Latin American countries that the existing literature draws on. Our findings make an important contribution to theoretical debates by highlighting the subtle link between nation-building and the pathways of labor incorporation in developing contexts.

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Article
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© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Association for the Study of Nationalities

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