Can Nacar / Working Class in Turkey During the World War II Period: Between Social Policies and Everyday Experiences

An abstract of the Thesis of Can Nacar for the degree of Master of Arts from the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History to be taken September 2004

Working Class in Turkey During the World War II Period: Between Social Policies and Everyday Experiences

Even though Turkey did not become a part of the conflict in the World War II, the economic and social life of the country was heavily affected by the war conditions. The wartime scarcities, high levels of inflation, and government regulations as regards to economy and work life enabled various actors, such as manufacturers, importers, and large and middle landowners to accumulate a substantial amount of capital. The capital accumulation that occurred during the war years was one of the important factors, which made the private enterprises’ active role in the economic life in the post-war era possible. On the other hand, large segments of the society were hard hit by the war conditions. Amongst them, this thesis focuses on the everyday experiences of the working class in the urban areas. Although in most cases working people worked long hours in unhealthy environments, they faced great difficulties in meeting their basic needs. However, they did not remain mere objects of the social circumstances. Resorting to various means, they attempted to challenge the social relation imposed on them and improve their conditions. The activities and demands that were brought on to the agenda for the fulfillment of these goals became a critical factor in the formation of a welfare regime that had at its center the labor.

Atatürk Ilkeleri ve Inkilap Tarihi Enstitüsü’nde Yüksek Lisans derecesi için Can Nacar tarafindan Eylül 2004’te teslim edilen tezin kisa özeti

Ikinci Dünya Savasi Döneminde Türkiye’de Isçi Sinifi: Sosyal Politikalar ve Gündelik Deneyimler

Türkiye Ikinci Dünya Savasi’nda çatismanin tarafi olmasa da, ülkedeki sosyal ve ekonomik yasam savasin yarattigi kosullarindan fazlasiyla etkilenmistir. Savas dönemi kitliklari, yüksek düzeylerde seyreden enflasyon ve hükümetin ekonomi ile çalisma hayatina iliskin yaptigi yasal düzenlemeler büyük ve orta ölçekli toprak sahiplerinin, ithalatçilarin ve sanayicilerin önemli ölçüde sermaye birikimi yapmasina olanak saglamistir. Söz konusu sermaye birikimi savas sonrasi dönemde özel girisimin ekonomide aldigi etkin rolü olanakli kilan önemli faktörlerden biridir. Diger taraftan, toplumun önemli bir kesimi ise savas dönemindeki mevcut kosullardan oldukça olumsuz etkilenmistir. Bu tez, söz konusu kesimlerden biri olan isçi sinifinin kentsel alanlardaki gündelik yasam deneyimleri üzerinde yogunlasmaktadir. Emekçi özneler sagliksiz kosullarda uzun saatler boyunca çalismalarina ragmen temel ihtiyaçlarini karsilamakta bile önemli güçlüklerle karsilasmislardir. Buna karsin, mevcut sosyal kosullarin nesnesi olarak kalmamis, çesitli yollara basvurarak, kendilerine dayatilan sosyal iliskilere karsi mücadele vermis ve yasam kosullarini gelistirmeye çalismislardir. Emekçi öznelerin bu amaçlari gerçeklestirebilmek için gündeme tasidigi eylem ve talepler savas sonrasi dönemde emek merkezli bir refah rejiminin olusumunda kritik bir rol oynamistir.