New Varieties of Domestic Patriarchy: Evidence from Turkey

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Ece KOCABICAK, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
This paper extends existing theories on varieties of patriarchy by developing a theory of premodern domestic patriarchy. Building on existing analyses that associate gender-based segregationist strategies with public patriarchy and gender-based exclusionary strategies with domestic patriarchy, it proposes that domestic patriarchy has two forms: In the modern form, men sustain their exploitation of women’s labour within the home by excluding women from free wage labour; in the premodern form, they exclude women from landownership to maintain patriarchal exploitation of labour in agriculture. The methods of comparative and historical analysis are used to identify the two forms and distinguish the factors sustaining the premodern form in Turkey, namely that male peasants constitute a patriarchal collective subject whereas rural and urban women are divided. Both methods are required and complement each other in terms of identifying the implications of gendered landownership for patriarchal and capitalist transformations. The paper argues that the premodern form of domestic patriarchy slows the transition to public patriarchy by establishing gendered patterns of rural to urban migration, and as such, limits women’s access to education and paid employment. In such conditions, women are divided: women living under the conditions of gender-based exclusion and women who confront gender-based segregation. A lack of alignment in their feminist demands and strategies weakens women’s overall capacity to achieve significant advances in gender equality. Premodern domestic patriarchy in Turkey also has implications for capitalist transformation. It enabled production of the agrarian surplus necessary for initial industrialisation yet prevented expansion of capitalism in agriculture by shielding peasants’ landownership from market-led dispossession of land. It further leads to a shortage of free wage labour by limiting women’s access to paid employment which, in turn, obstructs industrial quality despite a high level of industrial capacity.