Connecting Rural Change And Local Crafts: Rebranding Sock Knitting In Yenikaraağaç

Bilge Merve AKTAŞ, Ilgım VERYERİ ALACA, Burak GÜREL

Abstract


Rural development literature has demonstrated that in modern times, farming alone is usually unable to provide returns sufficient enough to develop a rural economy and keep the processes of outmigration and aging of the rural population in check. The development of non-farm activities such as small-scale industries, handicrafts, and rural tourism has been recognized as an indispensable way of providing dignified livelihoods to villagers, preventing rural exodus, and maintaining a lively village culture which combines modern achievements with valuable traditions. Based on fieldwork in Yenikaraağaç Village (located near the city of Bursa in western Turkey) and the outreach postcard project connecting the village to urban areas, we argue that design-based approaches can expand the audience of local craft practices and contribute to rural development. We present Yenikaraağaç as a case study of the historical trajectory and current state of sock knitting. By presenting the postcard project that ties sock knitting in the village to other areas through online networks, we suggest following designerly approaches to study the potential of local crafts for supporting dignified and sustainable livelihoods in rural Turkey. 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2019.2.2

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