Building the Modern Turkish Household: Koç Industries
thesisposted on 16.12.2012 by Gokhan Ersan
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This dissertation is a study of the changing visual and spatial culture of Turkey during and after the so-called “Marshall Plan Years,” from 1947 to 1980. Looking at a series of cultural reconstructions, the dissertation traces the transformations that remade the visual, symbolic, and utilitarian spheres of the nation. Focusing on four seminal products, and the design and production sectors that produced them, notably Koç Industries, the dissertation examines tensions within the process of modernization: tensions between tradition and innovation, between local and national, between national and neo-colonial, and between private and state-controlled production and dissemination. By foregrounding the main strand of Koç businesses that introduced four seminal products—the instantaneous water heater, the refrigerator, the private automobile and television—this study exposes the development of a feedback loop that brought forth Turkey’s consumer economy. A hybrid process occurred in which products came into existence both as a result of Vehbi Koç’s responses to his larger context — notably, the changing national political economy and bursts of consumer demand — and by his forcing of responses from this context in order to realize his own vision of material well-being for the Turkish nation.