"Just Like Prophet Mohammad Preached": Labor, Piety, and Charity in Contemporary Turkey

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Based on research conducted in Konya, Istanbul, Afyon, Izmir, Manisa, and Denizli, Turkey, in 2004–9, this contribution documents how gendered individual religious practices are conjoined to transnational business competition, changing labor conditions, and broader projects of economic transformation. The study focuses on the carpet-weaving and textile industries and civil society organizations in Turkey, investigating the ways in which charitable giving, pious practice, and local labor conditions create uniquely complex ways in which socioeconomic policies, processes, and commitments affect gendered lives. What is witnessed in weaving neighborhoods, civil society organizations, and the transnational linkages of production–consumption is neither a wholesale translation of Weberian capitalism nor a strict implementation of Islamic texts and practices. It is a unique Turkish assemblage of faith, religious practice, charitable giving, and flexibility of labor. This contribution calls for feminist researchers to empirically examine “pious economies” – that is, the linkages between pious practice and economic behavior.

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