To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Islamic Making of a Capitalist Habitus

Comparing European Workers Part A

ISBN: 978-1-84950-946-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-947-3

Publication date: 25 April 2011


Purpose – Turkey has undergone a major market transformation during the recent decades. This chapter seeks to explore the role of religious politics in some Turkish informal workers' pro-capitalistic change of heart as a response to that transformation.

Methodology/approach – The study is based on participant observation and interviews in a squatter district in Istanbul, Sultanbeyli. This is a two-phase ethnography, consisting of first-hand observations first during 2000–2002, and then in 2006. The fieldnotes are supplemented by 90 interviews.

Findings – Islamic mobilization eases the transformation of habitus in a liberalizing society and the transition from the predominance of social capital to the predominance of economic capital. I contend that the sub-proletariat's dispositions depend on (urban as well as national) historical context and articulation to political and religious movements.

Originality/value of paper – I discuss Bourdieu's study of the transition from subsistence-driven economies to market economies. The chapter points out that Bourdieu's approach to the problem of transition is more satisfactory in comparison to modernization theory and resistance studies. However, I will show that the problems Bourdieu identifies in Kabylia and Béarn (such as “fatalism of despair”) are less salient in Istanbul because of a sociopolitical movement (Islamism) that garners consent among the sub-proletarians by using religion as a disciplining force.



Tuğal, C. (2011), "The Islamic Making of a Capitalist Habitus", Brady, D. (Ed.) Comparing European Workers Part A (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 22 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 85-112.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited