Folklor/Edebiyat (May 2016)

Agrarian Transformation in A Tobacco-Growing Village And Women’s Labor / ''Bir tütün köyünde tarımsal dönüşüm ve kadın emeği”

  • Faik Gür*

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 86
pp. 141 – 156


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I grew up in a medium-sized Turkish Village, situated in the interior Aegean region of Western Turkey, which has relatively infertile and arid land on which villagers have been producing best quality tobacco since the 1960s. The land is not suitable for most other crops, such as cotton, which require an irrigation system. The village has some fertile and wet land near Banaz River, a small river that enables some families to grow vegetables and grapes. Apart from tobacco, until its production was restricted in the 2000s, other productive activities had a very limited impact on the village economy. Specialization in tobacco production in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the intensification of the processes of commodification within the village. The subsistence sphere of the village, for instance, has been transformed to the commodity sphere. Many aspects of subsistence goods and activities have been transformed into commodities. Milk, eggs, and bread, for instance, have become available in the village market. In this article I argue that the supply of labor and service in such processes in the village depend on women’s labor organized by patriarchal relationships. However, women use social spaces, reciprocal labor exchanges , and women’s helping parties to empower their existence and create room to be active in decision making processes.