The Relationship between representation, gender and social capital: case of female muhtars in Ankara

Çelikel, Elif Cansu
Although women are expected to be more visible at municipal and neighborhood levels due to its accessibility, their participation to local politics is even lower than the national level in Turkey. This thesis argues that there is a relationship between women’s political representation and social capital. The examination of this relationship built on the in-dept interviews with the 22 female muhtars Ankara. In Turkey’s administrational structure, position of the muhtarship is described as the bridge between the local citizens and local authorities. Therefore, they’re expected to assist local authorities in the process of service provision by giving information about the needs and demands of the neighborhood. This direct contact with both the citizens and authorities can provide an alternative route for women to participate in local politics. As a muhtar these women use their social capital as both enabler during their candidacy and strategy during their incumbency to gain recognition and to be engaged in service distribution processes. So, this thesis analyzes what are the main motives behind women’s candidacy for muhtarship and how does women’s social capital, accumulated through their communal relations as well as individual life experience, help to participate in politics and to overcome the obstacles they’ve faced. Based on the in-dept interviews, this is found that social capital contributes to women’s representation in local politics effectively. However, patriarchal relations, male dominated political culture, gendered division of labor pose some challenges to social capital.


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Citation Formats
E. C. Çelikel, “The Relationship between representation, gender and social capital: case of female muhtars in Ankara,” Thesis (M.S.) -- Graduate School of Social Sciences. Urban Policy Planning and Local Governments., Middle East Technical University, 2019.