Leaving the party to better serve it: conversion trajectories of AKP activists and the partisanization of the social welfare sector
This article questions the discreet strategies of social anchoring of a dominant party. It analyzes how women affiliated with the AKP in Turkey contribute to this party’s governing practices through their involvement in social work, a crucial area for its popularity. Based on a survey in the city of Gaziantep between 2018 and 2021, the article shows that social work is a sector largely delegated, at the local level, to women activists, volunteers, or professionals, some of whom are linked to the AKP. The study of the phenomena of multi-positioning, disengagement, and reconversion of women between the party, public institutions and their civil society partners reveals that women's trajectories may be based on discrete forms of patronage. Overall, the overflow of militant logics contributes to the partisan control of local public policy in the context of AKP’s domination. Partisan repertoires of action have been imported into social policy devices that constitute interfaces between the public authorities and certain social groups of the AKP’s core electorate. It is thus a particularly interesting case for exploring how partisan discretion can be mobilized by a dominant party, and the role of women in this strategy of anchoring and social control.
- partisan anchoring
- activists’ careers
- social work