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Making Things Fit, Making Ends Meet. Small Entrepreneurs in Istanbul’s Garment Industry

Garment production in Istanbul has increased dramatically over the last decades. Two million people could be working in the apparel and textile industry in Istanbul today – approximately one third of the labor force of Turkey’s largest city. And Turkey is among the world’s top five garment exporters. Nonetheless regardless of industrialization plans and efforts to impose stricter security rules, most of the production is carried out in small-scale specialized workshops spread across Istanbul metropolitan municipality. The extreme disintegration of garment production has forced an increasing number of small entrepreneurs to act as a link between Turkish, or foreign retailers, and scattered producers. They became the keystone of Istanbul’s garment industry. 

This doctoral project investigates the role of these local small entrepreneurs and their shifting importance in Istanbul’s globalized garment industry. It explores from an anthropological perspective the organization of this industry, as well as the careers, commercial practices, entrepreneurial success of the small entrepreneurs in a context of deep economic restructuring. It argues that Istanbul’s garment industry shapes a distinctive assemblage of material practices, labor division and capital accumulation, whose precise analysis can provide new insights on the current dynamics of globalized capitalism.

  • Thèse d'anthropologie préparée sous la direction conjointe de Michel Peraldi (EHESS) et Sabine Strasser (Université de Vienne, Autriche)
  • Date de soutenance : 19 janvier 2018


  • M. Michel Peraldi (Directeur de thèse), CNRS
  • Mme Sabine Strasser (Directrice de thèse), Universität Wien (Autriche)
  • Mme Janine Dahinden, University of Neuchâtel  (Suisse)
  • M. Jean-François Pérouse, Université Toulouse 2
  • Mme Tatjana Thelen, Universität Wien (Autriche)

Allocation ou financement


  • Printemps 2015 : Waste and its Ubiquity: Unnecessary, or Unavoidable? (anthropologie sociale, Berne)
  • Printemps 2015 : How to Study Global Markets? (anthropologie sociale, Berne)
  • Eté 2014 : Ethnographic Fieldwork Exchange Seminar (anthropologie sociale/sociologie, Berne/Ankara)
  • Printemps 2014 : Exploring Turkey: Anthropological Perspectives (co-teaching Sabine Strasser, anthropologie sociale, Berne)
  • Automne 2013 : The Shifting Power of Things (anthropologie sociale, Berne)
  • Automne 2013 : Introduction to Social Anthropology (anthropologie sociale, Berne)
  • Printemps 2013: Magic, Heroism, or Inquisition? Ethnography Revisited (anthropologie sociale, Berne)
  • Hiver 2010-2011: Capitalism in Contemporary Turkey (Master Global Studies, Leipzig)
  • Printemps 2010: Pushing for the ‘Global City’: Constantinople ~ 1900, Istanbul ~ 2000 (Master Global Studies, Leipzig)

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Bâtiment Recherche Sud
5 cours des Humanités
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