Modern Transformed: The domestication of industrial design culture in Norway, ca. 1940-1970
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The doctoral thesis sets out to describe and analyse how the mid-twentieth century Norwegian design community domesticated ideologies partly inherited from the traditional applied art movement (brukskunstbevegelsen), partly imported from various international currents of the so-called “modern movement”, in their co-construction of industrial design culture. The empirical studies follow two paths/levels; the ideology/propaganda debated in and mediated through the design magazine Bonytt, and the strategies/materiality/products developed by the ceramics/earthenware/porcelain manufacturer Figgjo. As such, the thesis is a cultural history of industrial design, where design (as) culture is seen as a sort of dialectic or discourse between ideology and practice. This often uneasy relation between ideology and practice is the leitmotif of the study. The concept of domestication, along with other theoretical frameworks and methodological tools appropriated from STS, becomes valuable when studying this process by following the actors in their construction, negotiation and mediation of these ideologies as played out in their main debate forum, the design magazine Bonytt. However, the domestication of industrial design culture in Norway does not end with the writings of campaigning designers, enthusiastic journalists, ardent academics and organization men. The mediations between ideology and practice is also traced in a domestication perspective. As such, the manufacturing industry - here represented by the ceramic tableware manufacturer Figgjo - represents a second site of domestication, where the ideologies undergo new negotiations and transformations in meeting other users, requirements and circumstances.