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Poverty or social reproduction of labour : life in çöplük district

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2005
Özuğurlu, Aynur
This thesis highlights the significance of social reproduction of labour in analysing poverty through historical materialist perspective and explores two related sets of arguments. First, poverty is the 'absolute general law' of the process of pauperization of labour under global accumulation movements of capital. Second, the question of poverty is subjected to the class struggle between historical tendency of labour, which is to collectivize its own reproduction conditions, and that of capital, which is to make it commodity produced and consumed in the parameters of market production. The concept of class struggle thus carries an analytical priority to explore the dynamic nature and the structure of poverty. The findings, based on the critical ethnographic research carried out in the squatter settlement district named Çöplük in Ankara, indicate that the main tendency of the degradation process of labour is to constitute the conditions of common class experience in the labour market, even though it advocates the fractionation in the sphere of production. Moreover, in terms of the perpetual struggle for collectivising their social reproduction, squatter settlements, gecekondus, also seem to be a sphere of common class experience rather than a heterogeneous sociality. The overall findings, therefore, indicate that the current dynamics of poverty rise as a situation in which the whole working-class is in a defensive position to capital.