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Başak Akkan: Global Pandemic and the Veiled Crisis of Care in Turkey: Politics of Social Reproduction and Masculinist Restoration. [Abstract]

Drawing on feminist debates about social reproduction and care while looking closely at gendered care politics and gender-insensitive containment measures, this article critically explores the politics of care in Turkey in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does so by engaging with the theoretical debate over “social reproduction as a site of crisis” (Fraser 2016, 2017) and provides a contextualised reflection on the contested features of the crisis of care in a highly gendered political setting where a familialist regime defines gender relations. Because such regimes expect women to increase their burden of care in times of crisis, the pandemic’s gender-insensitive containment politics fundamentally strengthened the boundaries between paid and unpaid work. The article explores the combination of gendered vulnerabilities related to increased unpaid care work and degraded conditions experienced by care workers during lockdowns as a manifestation of the crisis of care in Turkey. Besides neoliberal capitalism, as suggested by Fraser, Turkey’s rising authoritarian conservatism also characterises the crisis of care, which has implications for gender inequalities. Accordingly, this article invokes the conceptual framework of “masculinist restoration,” as suggested by Kandiyoti (2016, 2019) and argues that women’s situatedness as care providers has been losing its positional power as a cultural element of the familialist regime in Turkey. Instead, this situatedness is being enforced as a political project that aims to institutionalise familialism to secure patriarchal domination in a society, which therefore pertains to a veiled crisis of care.

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