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RIGHTING A DEATH ON THE JOB: THE POLITICS OF FATAL WORK ACCIDENT LAWSUITS IN TURKEY

Abstract
Turkey presides over one of the most unsafe workplace regimes in the world. This study addresses the law’s part in this hazardous regime by examining the tension between compensatory restitution and social justice. Drawing on court documents, interviews with legal professionals and victims’ survivors, I identify how the law directs the plaintiff to see the death as accidental and remediable by monetary compensation alone. By way of contrast, I make use of participant observations of a social movement led by family members seeking an alternative form of redress. Ultimately, I compare bereaved survivors who acquiesce to the usual legal system with those who contest it by calling attention to their differing political capacities, the characters of their grievances and actions. I argue that, when the bereaved limit their demands to monetary restitution, the legal system obscures systematic safety violations under the guise of justice. In contrast, when plaintiffs assert moral flaws in mere monetized redress, the criminal court becomes a venue for claiming the right to work in safety as part of systemic change. In the course viii of the argument, this study situates the problem of occupational safety in Turkey within the broader issues of the ethical logics and limits of compensatory restitution; acquiescence and resistance in the face of inequality; and the capacity of the disadvantaged to claim social justice through the law.
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campusfive
article
dissertation
Date
2020-05-08
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