The Design Culture Reader  book cover
1st Edition

The Design Culture Reader

Edited By

Ben Highmore

ISBN 9780415403566
Published August 27, 2008 by Routledge
400 Pages

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Book Description

Design is part of ordinary, everyday life, to be found in every room in every building in the world. While we may tend to think of design in terms of highly desirable objects, this book encourages us to think about design as ubiquitous (from plumbing to television) and as an agent of social change (from telephones to weapon systems).

The Design Culture Reader brings together an international array of writers whose work is of central importance for thinking about design culture in the past, present and future. Essays from philosophers, media and cultural theorists, historians of design, anthropologists, cultural historians, artists and literary critics all demonstrate the enormous potential of design studies for understanding the modern world.

Organised in thematic sections, The Design Culture Reader explores the social role of design by looking at the impact it has in a number of areas – especially globalisation, ecology, and the changing experiences of modern life. Particular essays focus on topics such as design and the senses, design and war and design and technology, while the editor's introduction to the collection provides a compelling argument for situating design studies at the very forefront of contemporary thought.

Table of Contents

Section 1: Materials and Methods  1. Karl Marx (1867) 'The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret'.  2. Jonathan Crary (1989) 'Spectacle, Attention, Counter-Memory'.  3. Vilem Flusser (1993) 'About the word Design'.  4. Michael Moon, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Benjamin Gianni and Scott Weir (1994) 'Queers in (Single-Family) Space'.  5. Pauline Madge (1997) 'Ecological Design: A New Critique'.  6. Hal Foster (2002) 'The ABCs of Contemporary Design'.  Section 2: Actors and Agents  7. Marcel Mauss (1934) 'Techniques of the Body'.  8. Michel Foucault (1982) 'Space, Knowledge, and Power'.  9. Friedrich A. Kittler (1986) 'Introduction' to Gramophone, Film, Typewriter.  10. Lana F. Rakow (1988) 'Women and the Telephone: the gendering of a communication technology'.  11. Ellen Lupton (1996) 'Power Tool for the Dining Room: The Electric Carving Knife'.  12. Tobin Siebers (2003) 'What can disability studies learn from the culture wars?'  Section 3: Object Life  13. Stuart Cosgrove (1984) 'The Zoot-Suit and Style Warfare'.  14. Mihay Csikszentmihalyi (1991) 'Design and Order in Everyday Life'.  15. Celik, Zeynep (1996) 'Gendered Spaces in Colonial Algiers'.  16. Celine Rosselin (1999) 'The Ins and Outs of the Hall: A Parisian Example'.  17. Svetlana Boym (2001) 'Immigrant Souvenirs'.  Section 4: Sense and Sensibilities  18. Wolfgang Schivelbusch (1983) 'Shop Windows'.  19. Nicholson Baker (1986) from The Mezzanine.  20. C. Nadia Seremetakis (1996) 'The Memory of the Senses, Part 1: Marks of the Transitory'.  21. Koichi Iwabuchi (1998) 'Marketing "Japan": Japanese cultural presence under a global gaze'.  22. Jonathan Sterne (2003) 'Hello'.  Section 5: Designing (in) the World  23. John McHale (1969) 'An Ecological Overview'.  24. Krzysztof Wodiczko (1999) 'Designing for the City of Strangers'.  25. Celeste Olalquiaga (1999) 'The Crystal Palace'.  26. Tony Fry (1999) 'From War to Warring'  27. Ashoke Chatterjee (2005) 'Design in India: The Experience of Transition'  Section 6: Design Time  28. Siegfried Giedion (1948) 'Anonymous History'  29. Evan Watkins (1993) 'Social Position and the Art of Automobile Maintenance'  30. Michel Serres (with Bruno Latour) (1995) 'The Past is no longer out-of-date'  31. N. Katherine Hayles (1999) 'The materiality of informatics: Audiotape and Its Cultural  32. Peter Hitchcock (2003) 'Chronotope of the Shoe'

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Ben Highmore is Reader in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex. He is the author of Everyday Life and Cultural Theory, Cityscapes and editor of The Everyday Life Reader and is the reviews editor of New Formations.


'[An] attempt to push the concept of design into new territories... It will certainly challenge its readers to question any assumptions they may have about design culture and to reconstitute their understanding with a broader, richer frame of reference. If that is the purpose of a reader, then Highmore's will certainly be a resounding success.' – Journal of Design History