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Quotidian realities of organic mothering in Turkey


This article explores how mothers in Turkey respond to the current atmosphere of food fear and the neoliberal rhetoric of the individualization of risks, as well as interrogating the class dimension of the varying ways in which mothers experience pressures regarding feeding their children in an organic manner. The article primarily suggests that mothers adopt different organic food strategies across class divisions—particularly through class-specific definitions of “organic”—so as to deal in stratified ways with the challenges organic feeding brings. It indicates that organic mothering practices have been incorporated into the lifestyle and cultural distinctions of middle-class families and reinforced by rural nostalgia. Contrary to this, ideas about “the organic” and rural nostalgia are mostly translated as “home-made” for lower-class families. Relying on sixteen in-depth interviews with mothers in İstanbul and on an analysis of posts and comments found on a mothering blog, this article offers empirical findings on analyses of organic mothering and risk from a standpoint and location that have been largely ignored in the existing literature. It also contributes to analyses about neoliberal transformations in the Turkish food market and the growing literature on family and neoliberalism under the government of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) by bringing a research-based view on the subjective experiences of mothers into a discourse that is rather political in nature as well as into policy research discussions.

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İrem Soysal Al, Graduate School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of Sociology, Koç University, Rumelifeneri Yolu, SOS Z33, 34450, Sarıyer, İstanbul, Turkey,

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New Perspectives on Turkey
  • ISSN: 0896-6346
  • EISSN: 1305-3299
  • URL: /core/journals/new-perspectives-on-turkey
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