The adoption and impact of computer integrated prepress systems in the printing and publishing industries of Kuwait
This research is aimed at developing a comprehensive picture of the implications of digital technology in the graphic arts industries in Kuwait. The purpose of the study is twofold: (1) to explore the meaning of the outcomes of recent technological change processes for the traditional prepress occupations in Kuwait; and, (2) to examine the impact of technology on Arabic layout and design. The study is based on the assumption that technological change is a chain of interactions among the sociological, cultural, political and economic variables. The prepress area in Kuwait has its own cultural, social, economic, and political structure. When a new technology is introduced it is absorbed and shaped by the existing structure. Based on such a dialectical conceptualisation, four major levels of analysis can be distinguished in this study: (1) technological change in the graphic arts industries; (2) the typographic evolution of the Arabic script; (3) the workers themselves as individuals and occupational collectives; and, (4) technology's impact on Arabic publication design. The methodological approach selected for this study can be defined as a dialectical, interpretive exploration. Given the historical perspective and the multiple levels of analysis, this approach calls for a variety of data gathering methods. Both qualitative and quantitative data were sought. A combination of document analysis, participant observation and interviewing allow to link the historical and current events with individual and collective actions, perceptions and interpretations of reality. The findings presented in this study contradicts the belief that the widespread adoption of new production processes is coincidental with continuous advances in scientific knowledge which provide the basis for the development of new technologies. Instead, the changes have been hindered by the lack of untrained personnel, the Arabic software incompatibility, and the lack of informed decisions to successfully implement the technology. Without any doubt, the new technology has influenced Arabic calligraphy, but this does not mean the decay of Arabic calligraphy as an art. As this study shows, the challenge is not to the art, but to the artist.