Working for family: the role of women's infomal labour in the survival of family-owned garment ateliers in Instanbul, Turkey , USA Michigan State University
(Women & International Development Program, 281).
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Since the implementation of export-oriented industrialization strategies in the early 1980s, small-scale firms have become increasingly important to Turkey's economy. In an era of flexible production and subcontracting, small-scale firms have been able to enter the global marketplace by cheaply producing and exporting labor-intensive commodities, such as textiles, food, garments, and leather goods. This paper investigates the changing nature of Turkey's manufacturing sector by investigating one increasingly prominent type of small-scale firm: garment ateliers (atölye) in Istanbul. As family-owned businesses, ateliers draw on inexpensive (and often unpaid), flexible, and loyal immediate and extended kin to provide labor. Garment ateliers operate informally on the outskirts of big cities, such as Istanbul, where rural migrant families comprise a cheap labor pool for enterprising migrant business owners. These small-scale firms then depend on unpaid and underpaid labor, encouraged by large-scale manufacturing factories seeking cheap subcontracting linkages to take over the labor-intensive parts of industrial production. This paper-through two case-studies-focuses on family labor and extended kin social networks to analyze the role of women's unpaid and underpaid labor in these small-scale garment ateliers.
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