Experiencing class differences: The case of subcontracted cleaning workers in METU dormitories

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Turkey

Approval Date: 2012




This thesis aims at examining the class experiences of subcontracted cleaning workers who work in student dormitories on the METU campus. It focuses on the working conditions of workers and control mechanisms in the dormitories in terms of their effects on class consciousness and future dreams of the workers. In addition, the study examines how workers experience class as a matter of self-respect in their workplaces, how they cope with haughtiness of students, the managers and the regular employees, how they explain social inequalities and whether they accept them as legitimate. The role of gender in workers‟ everyday lives is also mentioned. The study argues that university dormitories on the METU campus with their fragmented labor regime, and managerial tendencies, which treat the students as customers, are significant places for the observation of how class differences are experienced by the subcontracted workers. In regard to these issues, the field research of the study was conducted through semi-structured in-depth interviews with 23 subcontracted cleaning workers in 12 different dormitories on the METU campus.