Industrial design (ID) is a fairly young and largely unknown profession in Turkey. Although significant developments have taken place in the field of ID in the past 15 years, the scope of scholarly attempts to analyze the sociological meaning of designing in the Turkish context is extremely limited.

We use boundary work and professional ideology as salient concepts for a sociological understanding the ongoing professionalization process of Turkish industrial designers, who are developing professional identities and striving for recognition in the larger culture. This paper relies on 20 semi-structured interviews conducted with key players (i.e., ideologues) of the Turkish ID scene to analyze these boundary-work processes.

We found that the positive collective identity of Turkish industrial designers is built on a formulation of negative others. These negative others are ideological antagonists that are pushed to the “other” side of the demarcation line. Negative others are especially dominant in the professional ideology of Turkish industrial designers because the perceived threats from these antagonists shape the collective consciousness. However, the construction of these others is an ambivalent process in which they also become ideological “friends.” We also demonstrate that professional ideology plays a pivotal role in producing, reproducing, and legitimizing claims of professionalism.

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