Skip to main content

Zeynep Ceren Eren Benlisoy


I graduated from the Department of Sociology, Middle East Technical University. My thesis focuses on gendered rural transformation in Turkey based on women peasant-workers’ working practices and experiences in paid labor at a large-scale and export-oriented greenhouse in Western Anatolia. Based in Kadir Has University, Istanbul, I currently work for the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub, London School of Economics. My research focuses on the gendered dynamics of labor migration as well as forced migration and displacement in Turkey. Gender; agri-food relations; rural transformation; migration; women labor; ethnography and politics of neoliberalism are my areas of interests. Eren/unconfirmed?acceptedAuthorUid=2194303360


Rural Transformation from Womens Perspectives: the Greenhouse, the Peasantry and the Change

This article focuses on peasant-worker women’s laboring experiences and practices as waged labor in an agribusiness called the Greenhouse in Western Anatolia from a feminist perspective. I primarily gathered ethnographic data through in-depth interviews and participatory observation in the fieldwork between 2013-2016.

The company behind the Greenhouse is a very powerful conglomerate. The labor force (most of whom are women) at the Greenhouse comes from towns and villages nearby and belong to former small producer households who used to deal with tobacco, olive and cotton production as well as husbandry.

Based on women’s own perspectives, I investigate the reasons why women seem to be determined to continue their job at the Greenhouse while they keep their distance from their previous life of being small-producer and/or agricultural laborers. Therefore, the article takes into account three interrelated dynamics: (i) women’s perceptions of and evaluations on being peasant vs. being worker (i.e., the fieldwork vs. the Greenhouse work),

(ii) their future prospects on small-scale agricultural production and husbandry as well as young generations’ participation to those activities in the

region and finally (iii) the niches women create to transform and change their lives via the Greenhouse work with reference to empowerment.

To conclude, this article aims to draw a better picture of gendered rural transformation of the Basin, crystallized in the proletarianization of peasant- worker women as well as in their desires, aspirations, thoughts and dreams about their lives and futures.


Affiliation: London School of Economics, UK