Subculture formation of precarious working class youth in Turkey : a field research on the case of 'Apaches' in Ankara

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2012

Thesis Language: English

Student: Özge Tığlı



During the recent years in Turkey, the word “apache” had taken its place in Turkish popular culture as a pejorative word that is used to label a group of slum-dweller, working class youth. Those young people are distinguished through their visual styles, music consumption, and everyday activities that form a subculture. This thesis, firstly, is an attempt to understand the material, social and cultural circumstances which produce this subculture. Secondly, the thesis seeks to analyze the cultural reflections of these circumstances into the subculture that is emerging. As an attempt to understand that process, a four months media survey and a ten months field research with in-depth interviews and participant observation was conducted with the members of this subculture in Ankara-Turkey. As a result of the media survey and the field research it was observed that the most dominant factor that leads to/produces this subculture is the precarious working conditions that these youths are embedded. The members of that subculture are composed of the young members of the working class who enter into labor market under the ‘internalized’ conditions of precarity. They consistently, experience employment under the precarious working conditions and unemployment. Therefore, they occupy a liminal and marginalized position in which they neither articulate to their class position nor depart from it. Their ambiguous position in the relations of production redounds on their cultural practices. They create a subculture both through the mediation of their socio-economically obscure position and as a cultural response to it. They seek to construct a new position through the survival strategies and daily tactics in the realm of cultural practices; through a subculture in which they can define and situate themselves within the bounds of possibilities of their material conditions. However, this subculture also constitutes a continuum with their material conditions and consolidates their liminality. They are labeled as Apaches in that subculture and experience a similar kind of a marginalization with their counterpart precarious youth in all around the world. This thesis examines that subculture in which the cultural reflections of young people to precarity became concrete.