Precarity and identity among shipyard workers in Tuzla

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: 2013




This thesis analyzes class experiences of shipyard workers in Tuzla. The specific aim of this study is to discuss the effects of precariousness and ethnic identities of workers on the working conditions and the organization of the working class in the context of Tuzla shipyard region. Based on a fieldwork consisting of semi-structured in depth interviews with 22 workers in Tuzla, it also deals with the effects of precariousness on workers’ future expectations, the position of the state in Tuzla shipyard region and workers’ opinions about this, the effects of religious discourse on the organization of workers, and workers’ perceptions of class inequalities. Basically, this thesis argues that in addition to decreasing the cost of the labor, precariousness enables employers to make workers stay away from the class struggle under the conditions characterized by job insecurity and lack of legal protection against dismissals. Moreover, it argues that while there are no serious conflicts depending on being from different ethnicities among shipyard workers, nationalist discourse which mostly associates legal Kurdish political movement with “terrorism” is used by employers in order to prevent the working class struggle, and it plays an obstructive role in the organization of the working class and undermines the potency of the class solidarity of shipyard workers in Tuzla.