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Being and becoming professional : work and liberation through women's narratives in Turkey

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2004
Tüzel Bayrakçeken, Gökçe
This study focuses on the relationship between women̕s work and women̕s liberation and emancipation from male domination by examining, within a feminist epistemological and methodological standpoint, the personal and occupational experiences of women doing professional work in Turkey. The aim of this study is to make a conceptual discussion by referring to the field of professional work and the particular form it takes in the Turkish case. Patriarchy at professional work, which operates differently than it does in waged work, has been approached with a socialist feminist standpoint. However, socialist feminist conceptualisation of patriarchy at work has been interpreted with a special focus on different forms of patriarchy. According to this, patriarchy is an incomplete formation which manifests itsef in different actual forms. Due to its changing and fluid nature it is maintained in different social practices. This interpretation of patriarchy with the notions of "manifestationؤ and أpracticeؤ provides for conceptualising the contextual features of patriarchy without being lost or dispersed in the contextuality of the patriarchal operations. It connects different contexts that arise from regional, religional, ethnic, racial, or class-based effects or social, economic, political and historical conditions without reducing them to a generalised sameness. In this context, women̕s becoming and being professionals in Turkey in the early republican period appears to be a significant example. In Turkey, Kemalism appears to be the practice which determines not only the professions but also the conditions of women̕s entery to the public realm as educated professionals. In this connection patriarchy is manifested within the interacting practices of professionalism and Kemalism. As the research design of oral history narratives of 18 women and some other biographic and