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Title: Material objects and everyday nationalism in design : the electric Turkish coffee maker, its design and consumption
Author: Kaygan, Harun
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis provides an account of material objects which are related to the nation in their design and consumption. Addressing a major gap both in design literature and in theories of everyday nationalism, the study focuses on the processes of design and consumption in which material objects are nationalised, rather than on objects as representative of nations. For this purpose, a material-semiotic theoretical framework is developed, contributing to current debates on the use of STS-based approaches in design research. Accordingly, design and consumption are viewed as two sociotechnical settings where a variety of actors-engineers, designers, users, other objects as well as nations-are brought together. In application of this framework, design and consumption of a nationally charged kitchen appliance, the electric Turkish coffee maker, was investigated for the ways in which Turkish nation is evoked in discourse and practice by the actors involved. To this end, interviews were conducted with the managers, designers and engineers involved in the development of electric Turkish coffee makers. Together with the documents collected, the data is used to piece together the processes of product development and design. These were complemented and contrasted with interviews, focus groups and participant observation sessions, organised with users of the product. The analysis shows that electric Turkish coffee makers are conceived as a national project, which translates Turkish coffee to national tradition, and global commercial success via its mechanisation to national responsibility and pride. Accordingly, design practice attempts to produce and maintain the products as objectifications of national cultural authenticity. In the analysed consumption setting, however, users appropriate the products not as authentic replacements of, but as convenient supplements to the 'authentic', which they instead utilise to improve sociability. The study suggests and illustrates that a comprehensive understanding of everyday nationalism in particular, and politics in general, requires taking seriously the material agency of objects- conceptualised as symbolic and material assemblages with politically substantial meanings and affordances. It thus emphasises the significance of designed objects as nodes in and around which relations of power are shaped and stored, and the political role of design practices in assembling these objects by mediating such relations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W000 Creative Arts and Design