Journal Article

Designing a National Uniform(ity): The Culture of Sümerbank within the Context of the Turkish Nation-State Project

Dilek Himam and Burkay Pasin

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 157-170
Published in print May 2011 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online May 2011 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epr007
Designing a National Uniform(ity): The Culture of Sümerbank within the Context of the Turkish Nation-State Project

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This article aims to re-define and re-conceptualize the concept of national uniform(ity) within the discursive framework of Turkish nation-state policies and display its concretization via the culture of the state textile factory Sümerbank, within the context of the Turkish nation-state project itself. On the basis of a comparative analysis of uniformity in the products of Sümerbank, we argue that the ideal of building a unified, collective and uniform(ed) nation-state can be identified at various levels. In the first section, the fundamental Kemalist reforms, policies, institutions and the way they affected the economic, social and cultural practices of Turkish modernization are examined. In the second section, the establishment of a Sümerbank culture peculiar to Turkish modernization and its contribution to the Kemalist ideal of creating a uniform(ed) Turkish citizen are treated. In the final section, the idea of uniformity is considered as expressed through body and space, both analogously functioning as a uniform. Accordingly, the authors provide a comparative analysis of uniform(ity) in the culture of Sümerbank based on disciplinary, conceptual and contextual scales as well as a critique of the Turkish modernization as a state-centred process, and Sümerbank culture as a problem field that exemplifies the local/global dichotomy of Turkish modernity.

Keywords: architecture; design culture; fashion design; national identity; uniformity

Journal Article.  6210 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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