The dissertation utilizes an ethnographic investigation to understand how globally standardized economic ideas, policies and institutions are put into practice in developing countries. How are institutions, laws, policies and standards being transferred from the West to developing countries? And how do they reconstruct and regulate markets? Which actors, other than states, are involved in this process, and how do they relate to each other?
In an attempt to answer the foregoing questions, the dissertation examines the remaking process of the tobacco market in Turkey. Its starting point is the February 2001 Turkish financial crisis, a benchmark event, after which a series of sweeping reforms were implemented to fix the collapsed economy. The tobacco law was one of the reforms designed to bring the tobacco market in line with the standards of the Western capitalist market.
Following the circulation of tobacco from fields to cigarette factories, the dissertation explores how legal policies, market procedures and technical issues have transformed the tobacco market in Turkey. Decision-making processes of experts and the impacts of their decisions constitute the basic focus of this investigation. The study examines three different kinds of experts, namely global policymakers, technocrats and tobacco experts, and explores the ways in which these experts establish standardized institutions, market devices and technical guidelines. The methods and theories of anthropology, political economy, as well as science and technology studies are drawn on to scrutinize economic liberalization policies in developing countries that have adopted standardized guidelines of Western countries and institutions.