A socio-spatial approach to the question of class and consciousness formation in a local setting: the case of Bursa industrial workers

Erengezgin, B Çavlan
The aim of this thesis is to explore the class and consciousness formation in a local setting by also developing and applying a theoretical framework which allow us to study the interaction of locus of class consciousness with the other loci of consciousness formation such as the community and the state. Such an approach is also grounded in the belief that a relational understanding of these processes requires us to take spatial dynamics such as local dependency, spatial fix and fixity and mobility into account. By critically drawing upon historico-geographical materialist approach(es), the thesis attempts at resolving the tensions between ‘locality-wider society’ and ‘structure-consciousness’. By integrating them into a holistic and operational conceptual framework, it investigates the highly complex patterning of relations within urban structured coherences, and their effects upon the class and consciousness formation processes. It is shown that interpenetration of these fields of tension through urban processes is crucial in shaping a backbone for the concrete struggles fought by working class against capital in and of the urban regions. These issues are discussed with reference to two working class neighborhoods in Bursa. The first community, Emek, is an unplanned, illegally built settlement, hosting mostly migrant, and lower-wage earning industrial workers, and the second one, Akpınar, is a planned settlement, composed of low-cost housing cooperatives, symbolizing a higher living standard environment for well-paid, socially secure workers, mostly local in origin. The field research focuses on the relations between ‘the labor market, housing market and local dependency’ and ‘the strategies between mobility-fixity adopted both on part of capital and labor’. The specific character of these strategies also tell us how the patterning of the relations between class, community and state loci of consciousness formation and the formation of local coherences mutually shape one another. It is often assumed in this context that formation of class-based consciousness is hindered by other loci of consciousness such as the community-based one. This study shows that community-based consciousness is itself largely absent in the communities in hand and when community-base is deployed by the local workers it is often strategically employed to get personal benefits. In this sense, the study concludes that the lack of community-based consciousness does not device more effective strategies of formation of class-based consciousness but perhaps another adverse factor in developing class-based consciousness in an environment heavily dominated by individualized form of consciousness.


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Citation Formats
B. Ç. Erengezgin, “A socio-spatial approach to the question of class and consciousness formation in a local setting: the case of Bursa industrial workers,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2007.