Dewesternizing Precarity in Turkish TV Drama Production through the Body and the Law

Bulut, Ergin
Television and New Media

Beneath Turkish TV dramas’ global glamor lie workplace accidents, systemic injuries on workers’ bodies, and deaths. In response, workers seek to impose restraints on what can be done to their bodies by resorting to law and evoking ideals of equality as they struggle for workplace safety, healthcare, and dignity. Drawing on ethnographic research across production sets, industry summits, union meetings and more than fifty interviews since 2015, this article documents drama workers’ bodily vulnerabilities, arguing that precarity in this global media industry is a bodily phenomenon legally sanctioned by the state. I dewesternize the notion of precarity in creative industries by foregrounding the materiality of the body and the regulative power of law as centers of exploitation and resistance. Critical scholars of media production could learn from non-Western contexts in identifying how creative workers do not only demand stable incomes but also legal recognition and protection of their bodies.