Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Program Name/Specialization

World History


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Gavin D. Brockett

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Robert Kristofferson

Advisor Role

Committee Member

Third Advisor

Renee Worringer

Advisor Role

Committee Member



This study is an examination of the history of organized metal labor in İstanbul, Turkey after the Second World War. It analyzes and displays the complex and intermingled historical processes within which laborers in the private metal sector of İstanbul experienced workplace relations and actively responded to them. In this regard, although recent immigrants to Istanbul were exposed to unfamiliar conditions and labor relations, they attempted to shape those new relations through several means, in particular through the establishment of trade unions. In an effort to provide a comprehensive picture of class formation in the metal sector after the war, this study, therefore, focuses on the experiences of the İstanbul metal workers in their workplaces and living districts, as well as their efforts to be organized in effort to influence and change those conditions.

This dissertation relies on three interrelated levels of social relations, since the majority of the metal workers gained a certain class consciousness and habit of acting collectively between 1945 and 1970 in Turkey: the metal worker’s experiences in their work and social lives, their unionization and their collective actions. Of course, those conditions did not exist in a contextual void in Turkey after the war years; they were shaped by both the state policies which developed out of a certain world context, and by several social and historical problems with which Turkey grappled after 1945, as well as the particular type of progress of economic order, namely capitalism. In Turkey, the metal workers’ collective responses to the prevalent conditions from which they suffered took shape in parallel with changes in the political order, the state institutions, and the balance of political ideologies. What I am suggesting in this dissertation is that the İstanbul metal worker’s collective consciousness, and collective struggles which reached a peak towards end of the 1960s, were formed by the combination of different factors: the changing state intervention in regulating workplace relations after the war years, the changing patterns of social relations between bosses and workers, the progress of unionization in the sector, and most importantly, the various types of workers’ collective actions that occurred as a response to all those dynamics. In the end, it was the workers’ collective actions that constituted the most important reason for their rise as distinct social actors, namely; becoming members of a defined class in Turkish society.

Convocation Year


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