Culture, Class and Conflict in British Design
MAGUIRE, PADDY (2007) Culture, Class and Conflict in British Design In: Image, Power and Space: Studies in Consumption and Identity. Meyer and Meyer, Industrial Design, Federation of British Industries,, pp. 25-36. ISBN 978-1-84126-244-4
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Spanning a range of original documents, particularly the papers of the Council of Industrial Design (Design Council Archives at the University of Brighton), the Board of Trade papers (National Archive, Kew), the Federation of British Industries and the papers submitted as evidence to the various working parties established to inform industrial strategy in the immediate post-war period (Confederation of British Industry Archive, University of Warwick), this essay develops a sustained and systematic critique of existing accounts of both the Council’s work/strategy and of prevalent design historical constructions of research into such. Maguire’s analysis focuses on rival efforts to define appropriate design policies and situate design as an important ingredient of national identity and national advancement. Through such detailed interrogation, this chapter not only details the efforts of would-be design reformers but, by placing such endeavours firmly in the context of British industrial development, industrial practices and market structures of British industry, it offers a close examination of the origins and trajectory of the frequent conflicts between design and industrial representatives. In doing so through a detailed textual analysis, both the cultural assumptions and ideological formations of rival, frequently antagonistic, groupings are identified and analysed with a detailed examination of the historical record provided through their internal papers and correspondence. In particular, the essay examines rival visions of British design and of the significance of the design process in manufacturing industry in general through a detailed survey of COID proposals for educational reforms. By re-situating the debates within the context of industrial/commercial practice, Maguire’s chapter develops new perspectives on a formative period in the development of post-war design policy.
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