The Design Journal
An International Journal for All Aspects of Design
Volume 19, 2016 - Issue 3

Tactics of Cultural Adaptation: Design and Production Characteristics of Toys in Istanbul
Avşar Gürpınar, Artemis Yagou & Şebnem Timur Öğüt
Pages 451-472



Abstract
Toys, more than being objects of play, reflect society’s relation to globalization on different layers, manifesting themselves in typologies of toys, their production methods and the industrial organization of the sector, as well as in the exploitation of cultural references in new product development (NPD). Contemporary theories of globalization state that globalization does not only work in a homogenizing and standardizing way but the global dynamics are transformed and adapted by local actors. In the encounter of the Global and the Local, different modes of articulation emerge in addition to the dichotomic responses of acceptance and rejection. In that manner, toys embody an important issue of research, acting as the physical manifestations of local and global dynamics. This paper aims to understand how design and production characteristics of toys have been adapted to the changing socio-economic characteristics of Turkey and İstanbul in particular. Starting from the first instances of systematic toy production, the transformation of production practices and different typologies have been analysed in relation to the changing urban structure; economic, social and cultural conjuncture of their times. The evaluation of different systems of design and production has established a background for understanding the contemporary structure. The geographical and industrial organization of the sector as well as the actors and networks are analysed to generate a comprehensive analysis. Then, different types of contemporary toys and tactics of cultural adaptation are studied to reach a comprehensive understanding of the issue. Toys are sampled, categorized and analysed both in means of design characteristics and design and production processes. As a result, different instances of cultural adaptation were methodized, namely translation, transliteration, hybridization and reproduction, where toy companies facilitate elements of traditional, popular and global culture as well as different modes of production for their NPD tactics.

Keywords: toys, culture, design, globalization, hybridization

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