Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Communications, Istanbul Sehir Universitesi

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2006
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Cultural Anthropology, Rice University
From Seed to Smoke: An Ethnography of Tobacco Production and Exchange in Turkey

My disse1iation is an ethnographic investigation of the process of agricultural transition in Turkey. Specifically, I will explore how local tobacco farmers in Turkey are influenced by recent escalation of market liberalization policies. As the Turkish agricultural sector adjusts to free market conditions, tobacco production provides an exemplar for understanding the contemporary impacts, and unintended consequences, that liberalization policies have on local people in developing countries. In order to analyze this transition, I will build my research on the comparison of the production and exchange of two different kinds of tobacco leaves, Oriental and Virginia, which are produced for the state monopoly and multinational tobacco companies respectively. I will conduct my fieldwork mainly in two different villages in Turkey, Kiraz and Arabacikoyu, where the farmers produce tobacco for the state monopoly and multinational tobacco companies. I will also interview tobacco experts, government officials, and multinational tobacco companies' representatives in Izmir and Ankara. My research bas three goals: 1) I will analyze how the lives of local tobacco fam1ers in Turkey are influenced by the recent changes in agricultural sector and how the fam1crs, in return, are refashioning themselves against these changes, 2) I will examine the practices of new institutions, such as tobacco regulatory board and tobacco expe1i committee, which were established with the introduction of neoliberal reforms in Turkey, in order to understand their impacts on agricultural sector, 3) I will investigate how Oriental and Virginia tobacco leaves are transformed into commodities through two distinct processes that arc shaped by new legal and policy measures, standardized technical issues, and market procedures of the state monopoly and multinational companies.