Articles Tagged with: Nonguild Labor

Occupations and Integration: “Nonguild Labor”

According to the census returns, 259 people in the mahalle had regular occupations in 1885 (see table 3.2). Of these, 254 were men. Of the 5 women whose occupation was clearly specified, 4 were living as “servants” within various households in the neighborhood. As to Fatma ¥erife hanım (aged sixty, and living at 15 Hamam Odaları Street), she was a midwife, a kabile. Artisans and shopkeepers were a majority in Kasap ƒlyas (52.9 % of all declared occupations). The next largest group was that of civil servants. Most of these were lower- and middle-echelon scribes and bureaucrats, as seen from their official position, put down in the census register in most cases as kâtip (scribe) or ketebeden (one of the scribes). But in 1885 some really highechelon military bureaucrats also lived in their konaks on Samatya Avenue (formerly “Butchers’ Road”). At 64 Samatya Avenue ¥evket Paœa (1824– 1890), a œeyhülharem (guardian of Mecca and Medina) and former cabinet minister, lived with his family, and 5 Samatya Avenue was the residence of Ahmet Faik Paœa, a retired army general, aged seventy-five at the time of the census. Sadettin Bey (later Paœa), a colonel on duty with the General Staff of the Ottoman army, lived with his family in the mansion at 62 Kasap ƒlyas’ main street.

The “wage earners” category in this table includes all those who were paid wages but who, apparently, did not work for the government. As to the “others” category, it includes such undefined and unclassifiable statuses and occupations as teb’asından, mensubatından, and çavuœ. Ten people in the mahalle were classified as sa’il, se’eleden, or fukara. These were apparently making a living by begging. They all lived either in the Virane or in one of the streets between Samatya Avenue and the Davudpaœa wharf. They have been included in the “others” category.
Within the large and heterogenous category of artisans/shopkeepers, the numerically most important subgroup was that of the küfeci or manav küfecisi.
There were 51 of them in Kasap ƒlyas, making up 37.2 percent of the total occupational category. A küfe is a large and deep basket, usually to be carried on the back. Küfeci is the person who carries this basket for a living. That person might be either a street-porter or an ambulant vendor of various goods. A manav küfecisi would be the person who carries and sells fruits and vegetables with the küfe. The Kasap ƒlyas listings, however, always clearly differentiate itinerant fresh fruit and vegetable vendors (manav küfecisis) from ordinary street-porters (hamal küfecisis). Not surprisingly, given the proximity
of the bostans, the küfecis in Kasap ƒlyas were almost all street vendors of fresh fruits and vegetables. Almost one out of every five adult male resident whose occupation was known earned his living as an itinerant fruit vendor.
In 1885, next to this large number of street peddlers of fruits and vegetables there lived in Kasap ƒlyas only one single fruit shop owner (manav) and one wholesaler of fruits and vegetables (kabzımal). The owner of the fruit shop (a native of Arapkir), however, must have had his shop elsewhere, since there was no such greengrocer in our neighborhood at the time. The proximity of the large bostans would indeed have made such a shop redundant. As to the wholesaler of fruits and vegetables, his warehouse was near Yemiœ Iskelesi, the wharf on the Golden Horn where imported fresh or dried fruits and vegetables were usually brought.
After the ambulant fruit and vegetable vendors, the next two largest groups of street peddlers living in Kasap ƒlyas were the porters (hamal or hamal küfecisi), with 10 members, and the old-clothes-men (koltukçu), with 9. The itinerant fruit and vegetable vendors (51), plus the street-porters (10) and the old-clothes- men (9) thus made up more than half of the artisan/tradesmen/shopkeepers category. This group, the backbone of the non-wage-earning population of Kasap ƒlyas in 1885, was clearly neither well educated nor well-off.

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