Interns and Infidels: The Transformation of Work and Citizenship in Turkey and the United States under Neo-liberalism
How do the dispossessed remain governable under economic insecurity? What explains the persistence of work as a prerequisite to social rights in a time when fewer formal jobs exist? Drawing on a comparison of Turkey and the United States since 1980, we demonstrate that the neo-liberal state deploys different versions of the “work-citizenship nexus” to manage both the shrinking minority who enjoy the benefits of full citizenship and the rest who struggle to attain the rights and privileges of the formally employed. We find that neo-liberal state practices comprise a dual movement. On the one hand, the state in both countries reorients itself toward the market in welfare provision and the regulation of labour relations, capitalising on precarious work structures to bring their populations into the fold of neo-liberal governance. On the other hand, the state directly intervenes in disparate ways to manage those who cannot make it in the market. While the American state uses tactics of mass incarceration and deportation, the Turkish state opts for a blend of social conservatism and authoritarianism. This dual movement of reorientation and direct intervention results in what we call “tiered citizenship regimes” that facilitate the management of the population in each case.
Global Labour Journal's authors grant the journal permission to publish, but they retain copyright of their manuscripts. The Global Labour Journal applies a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International License.
Under the terms of this licensing framework anyone is free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work, under the following conditions:
- Attribution: You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
- Noncommercial Use: You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
- No Derivative Works: You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.
Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder, the author of the piece. The author's moral rights are retained in this license.