Devaluation of Workers’ Lives in the Neo-Liberal Order and the Reflections on the Media

Mine Karakus Yetkin 1, Filiz Goktuna Yaylaci 1

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Within the neo-liberal order, the workers who are only considered as labour power are left to precariousness. Globalization and neo-liberal policies as the reflection of the logic of the contemporary economy-politics are substantial concepts in understanding the minimization of costs of labour and the increase in the worker fatalities on behalf of profit maximization. On 11 March 2012, in a shopping mall construction site called Marmara Park in Istanbul, 11 workers lost their life when their tents caught fire. The tents were shelters for the construction workers who were employed by a subcontractor and the heating stove was the cause of the fire. After Public Prosecutor of Bakırköy’s investigation and the lawsuit, the court decided the 11 workers who lost their lives to be faulty. The fact that tents were given to workers for their stay at the construction site indicates that they are migrant workers who were dependent subjects to exploitation and to adverse working conditions, which are clearly the implications of neo-liberal economy policies. This study analyses how the fire on 11 March 2012 that claimed 11 workers’ lives and defined as ‘workplace accident” by the hegemonic discourse is reflected on the Turkish media, within the framework of theoretical discussions on neo-liberalism, subcontracting and deregulation of labour. For that purpose, content and discourse analysis are conducted on the news published in the Turkish printed press. The data are collected through PRNet data base program as well as research engines of the online newspapers. From the preliminary findings, it can be suggested that, when the gravity of the incident is considered the space given to the fire and the tragedy in the media was not significant. Furthermore, the newspapers constructed their news about the fire in accordance with their political standing.


Printed Press Neo-liberalism workplace disasters perception management subcontacting


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 6, Issue December 2016 - Special Issue, pp. 15-46

Published Online: 01 Dec 2016

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