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Title: Governmentality and design: inventing the industrial design councils in Great Britain and New Zealand
Author: Thompson, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0001 3527 5598
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2008
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Drawing upon a wider archive than has hitherto been employed in investigations of the history of design promotion, this study focuses on the key institutions, strategies and techniques that lead to the invention of design councils in Great Britain and New Zealand during the twentieth century. Between 1914 and 1944 in Great Britain and 1958 and 1968 in New Zealand, primarily in response to changing patterns of trade, efforts were made to establish state-supported bodies promoting design as a mechanism for improving the productivity and efficiency of industrial manufacturing. In the process of forming these bodies, new models were proposed for interrogating the nature of design. These initiatives were made not only against backgrounds of shifting patterns of governance, both local and international, but also in light of changes in production, distribution, mediation and consumption of commodities. They were driven by interests that included educational reform, the emergence of new practices and technologies, the organisation of industrial concerns, the assertion of national self-interest and post-colonial strategies adopted by both countries as they sought to relocate their economic and political bases. In each instance, the models proposed were repeatedly recast as the state attempted to mediate between competing power formations, both within and without the constructs of governance. Using the differences of scale between the two resulting organisations to highlight the problems encountered, this study suggests that the failure of these design promotion agencies to achieve their initial objectives resulted from a fundamental confusion as to the nature of the political economy of design and, in institutional terms, from flawed constitutions that prompted unanticipated distortions of their purpose.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available