Domestic labor and wellbeing: the Evlatlık institution in turkey

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Economics
Author Togrul, Hande
Title Domestic labor and wellbeing: the Evlatlık institution in turkey
Date 2016
Description This dissertation examines the wellbeing implications of the evlatlık institution in Turkey. Evlatlık is an understudied form of unpaid domestic labor performed by a live-in young girl in the household of a family to whom she bears no biological relationship, and the person who performs this domestic labor is called an evlatlık in the context of Turkey, which is the diminutive of the word “child.” While the institution is invisible in labor force statistics, it also exists, and in some cases, is quite prevalent in many countries around the world. It emerges in the context of poverty and is a response to the intersection of the needs of poor and vulnerable households with the interests and needs of people who want to show goodwill and do a good deed under the status of “quasi- adoption.” Much of the focus of feminist economics scholarship on domestic labor has been on unpaid labor by family members or the labor of paid domestic workers. Studies have examined the invisibility of unpaid labor in economic accounting and the poor working conditions and treatment of domestic workers. In the literature on poverty, assessment of changes in poverty levels or wellbeing tends to rely on the income yardstick. This dissertation adopts the capabilities approach developed by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen to construct an evaluation framework. The data come from primary research conducted by the author in Turkey from 2004 to 2005. A key source of data is interviews with 22 former evlatlıks. The main finding is that only 3 participants out of 22 described an increased overall wellbeing as a result of their experiences as an evlatlık. Nineteen participants carry deep emotional scars, which have hampered their overall wellbeing. They faced significant loss of self-esteem and dignity, absence of positive feelings, lack of autonomy, lack of trust and belonging, and lack of competence and prolonged social support. There is, however, some intergenerational expansion in capabilities. If the capabilities approach is meant to assist in developing policy recommendations that benefit all women and girls from diverse backgrounds, then the process and outcomes of wellbeing have to target the emotional wellbeing of individual people and society.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Capabilities Approach; Care Work; Domestic Labor; Feminist Economics; Poverty; Wellbeing
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management ©Hande Togrul
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6d54s3b
Setname ir_etd
ID 1344742
Reference URL
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