Contesting Working-Class Politics in Turkey: Social Transformations, Islam, and the Left

BEKMEN A., Ongel F. S., Hadiz V. R.

CRITICAL SOCIOLOGY, vol.46, no.7-8, pp.1025-1040, 2020 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46 Issue: 7-8
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0896920520934171
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1025-1040
  • Keywords: Turkey, working class politics, Islam, AKP, trade unions, political sociology
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


This article examines transition in Kocaeli, an industrial city in the north-western part of Turkey, away from left-wing politics and trade unionism in the early 1970s, and toward Islamic politics from the mid-1990s onwards. It does do by investigating the ideological, political, and social transformation of the working class. Based on fieldwork involving in-depth, semistructured interviews conducted with current and former workers and trade union leaders, the article analyzes the various aspects of, and limits to, the hegemonic relationships between workers and left-wing politics on the one hand, and with Islamic politics, on the other.