Not Just Culture Centers: The People’s Houses and Social Policy in the Early Republican Turkey

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Metinsoy M.

International Journal of Turcologia, vol.17, no.34, pp.28-47, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 34
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Turcologia
  • Journal Indexes: Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus
  • Page Numbers: pp.28-47
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


In 1932, the Republican People’s Party established the People's Houses as secular education and culture centers. The reasons motivating their establishment and educational and cultural roles have been investigated extensively. However, the social assistance activities carried out by People’s Houses have not been studied adequately. Through their social assistance departments, they conducted several social assistance activities. This article shows that the People’s Houses went beyond being merely educational and cultural centers by taking part in social welfare activities. It also argues that such activities were primarily devised to generate consent and sympathy for the ruling party by alleviating the impoverishment that might be leading into the political discontent. Moreover, in face of the state’s financial constraints, which prevented allocating necessary sources to social policies, the People’s Houses served that the government delegated social assistance to such organizations. Along with this, the infrastructural shortcoming of the People’s Houses caused their social assistance mission fell short of alleviating the impoverishment.