Anlam Filiz: The Labor of the Good: Sustaining Berlin’s Temporal Infrastructure in Turkish-Run Corner Shops


Berlin’s spätis (businesses that are similar to corner shops and open late hours and on Sundays) provide their customers with temporal flexibility. Amidst globally-rising xenophobic sentiments, Turkish owners and workers of these shops utilize this temporal quality and organize their work to accommodate the temporal needs of their diverse customers. They synchronize with the life of their neighborhoods and engage in speedy transactions. This temporal arrangement provides a powerful lens to consider how minorities’ labor forms the temporal infrastructure of their cities and make minorities vital for their countries. Whereas this case might appear as an example of good things happening in the midst of today’s overwhelming negativity, the article encourages research into the labor behind such “good things.” Thus, the essay adds to the “anthropology of the good” by showing that things that appear to be “good” might necessitate certain forms of labor, in this case, that of minorities.

[Germany, Turks in Germany, temporality, infrastructure, labor, anthropology of the good]