Cold Play: The Conflict Toy Industry in Times of (Cold) War and Peace

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the significant role that the toy industry, particularly through the production of “conflict toys,” plays in the political and social landscape of conflict. It delves into how toys, once simple playthings, have evolved into potent political tools, reflecting and even influencing societal attitudes toward war and peace. It traces the intricate relationship between toy producers, as non-state actors, and governmental bodies during times of conflict, with special regard to the Cold War era. The chapter argues that conflict toys play a critical role in cultural and educational development, and conflict toys may perpetuate conflict narratives and reproduce conflict as such. It suggests that non-state actors like toy manufacturers have an impact on the dynamics of international relations, especially in the context of East-West tensions, as evidenced most recently by the ongoing war in Ukraine and the use of military-themed toys in Russian military socialization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Non-State Actors in East-West Relations
EditorsPeter Marton, Gry Thomasen, Csaba Bekes, Andras Racz
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)9783031057502
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2024


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