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GUNSELI BERIK, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation analyzes the effects of women's participation in paid work on gender subordination in the context of carpet weaving in rural Turkey by drawing on results of a sample survey of weavers in ten villages. Two distinct arguments with respect to this relationship are evaluated: the effect of social relations of work on women's position as a gender and the importance of women's income for the household. Examination of working conditions under three relations of production (independent production, the putting-out system and capitalist production) shows that work relations represent a continuity and reinforcement of the norms, customs which govern women's lives, since they are based on kinship ties and weavers' relations to the employer are mediated through their male kin. Extension of familial control into the workshops is effective in maintaining work discipline and a high volume of weaving. Hence, even workshop weaving does not challenge age and gender hierarchies in rural Turkey and is therefore unlikely to empower weavers. Exploring the factors which shape women's income contribution through weaving in a multiple regression framework, the dissertation shows that weaving in a workshop, having greater number of women in the household, and household inability to meet subsistence needs from alternative income sources greatly enhance the volume of weaving. The effects of carpet weaving work on women's gender position are explored by focusing on three dimensions of women's economic autonomy: control over labor power, participation in trade and financial autonomy. Hypotheses on the determinants of financial autonomy are tested in a multiple regression framework and the results show that women's financial autonomy is insensitive to the importance of weaving income but is largely governed by variables that traditionally shape women's position in rural Turkey (age, headship status of their household, type of household structure). While weaving in workshops enhances financial autonomy, this is accompanied by diminished control over various decisions affecting weaving work. The insensitivity of women's economic autonomy to the extent of their economic contribution to the household is explained by the control over women's labor and the fact that weaving is premised on women's subordinate position.

Subject Area

Labor economics

Recommended Citation

BERIK, GUNSELI, "WOMEN'S EMPLOYMENT IN HANDWOVEN CARPET PRODUCTION IN RURAL TURKEY" (1986). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8701138.