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Understanding the Changing Nature of the Relationship between the State and Business Elites

Elites on Trial

ISBN: 978-1-78441-680-5, eISBN: 978-1-78441-679-9

Publication date: 10 February 2015


In this study, we aim to understand how the relationship between state and business elites and underlying power dynamics develop in the face of neoliberalism and globalization in a state-dependent context. For this purpose, we draw on a qualitative research with in-depth interviews with elites from 65 companies which are ranked among the 500 largest Turkish firms by the Istanbul Chamber of Industry. Major contribution of this work is that we illustrate how globalization or internationalization provides a limited tool for business elites to escape the domination of the state in a state-dependent context. The only exceptions to this rule of state domination among business elites are the elites who hold double citizenships and whose initial investment background is in a foreign country. This exceptional group of elites enjoyed higher latitude of action in their interactions with the state. For the rest, state remains as an influential mechanism of coercive power to which elites are subjected. Last but not least, in spite of the connections between business growth and the state, the business elites are generally distrustful of politics and politicians and this mistrust is manifested in different ways. Overall, we illustrate the significance of the historical context and turning points in accounting for the changing nature of the relationship between elites and the state in Turkey.




The authors are grateful for the support provided by the Galatasaray University Research Fund.


Ergur, A., Yamak, S. and Özbilgin, M. (2015), "Understanding the Changing Nature of the Relationship between the State and Business Elites", Elites on Trial (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 43), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 107-129.



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