Employment after ‘guest work’. Turkish worlds of work in West Berlin since the 1970s
Completed PhD project
Funded by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung
The termination of recruitment contracts for ‘guest workers’ in November 1973 was a political action of the West German government designed to alleviate the expected impact of their extension on the Federal Republic’s economy. However, numerous ‘guest workers’ settled down permanently in Germany. Especially people from Turkey and their commercial activities enrich the appearance of German cities to this very day.
This PhD project examines the various career paths of Turkish ‘guest workers’ and their descendants, beginning with their original deployment as part of the production line and considering the many subsequent individual developments since 1973.
Hence, the common idea of ‘the Turkish shop owner’ will be reviewed and for the first time ever placed in its historical context. Besides, the business continuity and the occupation of ‘foreigners’ in formerly recruiting firms after 1973 will be included in the research design as well as employment in other economic sectors, e.g. job opportunities in the civil service.
Beyond that, the project will reflect on newly created ‘Turkish’ spaces and places in West Berlin, such as coffee shops or market places and their effect on Turkish (and German) people’s everyday lives.
Focussing on West Berlin only enhances the opportunity to tell the Turkish migrants’ story as part of the history of West Berlin and to unfold networks and structures created and used by Turks in Berlin.
This project aims to extend the focus of German migration history, which for a long time had the tendency to focus on the time between 1955 and 1973 whenever the ‘guest workers’ were concerned and failed to pay attention to subsequent trends.
Project in the Postgraduate Research Group „Social Consequences of the Transformation of the World of Work in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century“
Stefan Zeppenfeld successfully completed his doctorate on 29 October 2020. Read more (text in german)