Righting a Death on the Job: The Politics of Fatal Work Accident Lawsuits in Turkey


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




The frequency of workplace deaths in Turkey places the country among the most unsafe economies. This project reveals the law’s contribution to this hazardous labor regime by examining its emphasis on monetary compensation as a form of justice. It compares victims’ families who consent to this legal directive with those who challenge it by considering their different political capacities, open and suppressed grievances, actions and inactions. It argues that when the injured follows the conventional legal process, the law obscures pervasive safety violations under the guise of justice. When the plaintiff finds moral flaws in mere monetary redress, however, the criminal court becomes a venue for asserting the right to work in safety—albeit without the expected outcomes. Ultimately, this project situates the problem of workplace safety in Turkey within the broader issues of the ethical logics and limits of monetary restitution, and the abilities of the disadvantaged to claim social justice within the law.