This article examines social protests following the collapse of an IMF-backed anti-inflation program in Turkey by people who lacked the associational bases to voice their political claims. Based on the pattern of protests following a similar economic crisis, one would expect protests by organized labor against the government. Yet it was largely shopkeepers and artisans who took to the streets in response to the 2001 crisis. I argue that the Turkish shopkeepers' ground-level understandings of economic processes—their moral economy—were at the origins of these protests. Furthermore, I demonstrate that organized labor's failure to mobilize resulted from the decline of associational capacity and strength of trade unions. The investigation of the Turkish shopkeeper protests shows that where capitalist production relations and a market economy threaten institutions of livelihood, moral economies can be the determining factor of a particular group's mobilization to contest rules and relations governing economic life.

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