Nature and dynamics of informal paid child care in Turkey: commodification due to insufficient welfare policies

Soyseçkin, İdil Safiye
This dissertation analyzes paid child care work in informal sector in Turkey as working middle class mothers’ strategy to be able to allocate appropriate time and labor to their domestic responsibilities and obligations of work in the condition that social welfare implications are inadequate. It aims to understand how commodification of child care shape nature of the work and working relation. Through this study, I contribute to exiting literature by means of shifting central point of child care work from immigrant to local women; giving place to view of middle class; displaying negotiation power of the workers; presenting effect of gendered division of labor in household, structure of labor market, and welfare implementations on dynamics and commodification of child care. To be able to apprehend particularity of paid child care, I conducted 41 in-depth interviews middle class mothers having children between 0-6 years old, child minders and mediating agency managers. The field work showed that gender regime of a country defines social welfare implementations. In Turkey when women want to participate into employment, they mostly rely on their female members of family and in case this support is unavailable; they employ child minders from informal labor market. Absence of any formal regulation, private sphere to be a working place and work to be child care cause familial terms to be dominant in the work relation. This leads to reinforcement of devaluation of the work and makes total commodification impossible.