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Socially oriented design practices in Turkey: a critical analysis of participation and collaboration

Gürdere Akdur, Selin
This study provides a detailed examination of socially oriented design (SOD) practices of the last decade in Turkey. Referring to the lack of academic studies in the design literature focusing on SOD practices, I aimed at discovering the entire processes of these practices to construct a critical analysis. The study was conducted in two stages by applying a textual analysis approach. In the first stage, initially, 93 SOD practices were compiled and explored through their representations on Turkish design media. Then, 35 of them were determined by the criteria derived from the SOD literature and their salient features were examined in terms of the range of actors involved in the processes, the prominent issues tackled by the initiators of these practices, objectives they intended for and methods they applied. In the second stage, firstly, five face-to face expert interviews were conducted to the validity of the study. Based on the recommendations of these experts and the criteria derived from the literature, secondly, 13 interviews were carried out with 16 initiators to analyze the processes of these practices deeply. The purpose was to go beyond what is visible in the media discourse of the initiatives identified in the first stage and to examine the entire processes in terms of the relationships of the actors, the distribution of roles, and the approaches of participation and collaboration. In the second stage, where the traces of initiators of SOD practices followed, a material-semiotic theoretical framework was applied. As a result, the study reveals the current situation of SOD practices in Turkey, the motivations of the initiators, the requirements of the processes in terms of participation and collaboration, the changing roles of actors, and the strategies and values adopted in the involvement of different actors. In conclusion, a detailed discussion of the implications of the study was conducted, and by reflecting the diversity of SOD practices in Turkey, a model that demonstrates the prominent characteristics was introduced. The contribution of the study and the recommendations for future studies was also made.