Construction of the child question in early republican Turkey and social services as an art of government

Akbas E.

VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND YOUTH STUDIES, vol.3, no.1, pp.24-30, 2008 (ESCI) identifier identifier


This paper discusses the child question in Turkey through an inquiry into social services as an art of government. The ideological reference in the formation of the 'social' in the early Republican period was solidarism, which was planned to function as the pattern for new social relations of the new society because the problem was not to provide social assistance, but rather to make human beings productive individuals. Children were seen both as the symbols of modernism and western Turkey, and the carriers of nationalistic values as the owners of the future. Therefore, the education and protection of children was a 'national' matter; child care was of the quality of a national service. The goal was to create a healthy, sportive, smart and industrious new generation. In accordance with the solidarist ideals of the state, making orphans who are protected by a paternalist attitude into useful and productive individuals marked the earlier periods as a technique of government of the new regime.