SO475 Half Unit
Material Culture and Design
This information is for the 2020/21 session.
Dr Donald Slater STC S310
This course is available on the MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Economy, Risk and Society and MSc in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
This course focuses on designed entities in everyday life, looking at the ways in which materials are configured into things, practices, spaces and forms, and at the assemblage of objects across production, design, consumption and use. Though aiming to produce expertise in specifically social science research, the course will bring together literatures and debates that cross the social sciences, humanities and science/technology, drawing particularly on actor-network theory, material culture studies, sociology of consumption, practice theory, urban and architectural studies, cultural theory and design studies. There will also be a strong emphasis on methodology: what tools are available to social scientists to investigate the emergent properties and impacts of designed objects. Case studies will be central to the teaching, developing theoretical and methodological strategies through a (changing) set of empirical cases that are likely to include: digital objects (software, games); media objects; lights and lighting; fashion; domestic interiors.
This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, online materials and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours in the MT.
Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in MT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.
One 2,500 essay applying a theoretical approach to a specific case study.
Bijker, W. E. and J. Law (eds.) (1992) Shaping technology/building society: Studies in Sociotechnical change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Frayling, C., E. King and H. Atkinson (2009) Design and popular entertainment. Manchester ; New York
Lash, S. and C. Lury (2007) Global Culture Industry: the mediation of things. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Manovich, L. (2002) The language of new media. Cambridge, Mass. London: MIT.
Miller, D. (2008) The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity.
Molotch, H. (2003) Where Stuff Comes From: How Toasters, Toilets, Cars, Computers and Many Other Things Come to Be as They Are. New York and London: Routledge.
Shove, E., M. Hand, J. Ingram and M. Watson (eds.) (2007) The Design of Everyday Life. Oxford: Berg.
Yaneva, A. (2009) The Making of a Building: A Pragmatist Approach to Architecture. Bern: Peter Lang.
Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.
An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the second Thursday of Lent Term.
Attendance at all classes and submission of all set coursework is required.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2019/20: 20
Average class size 2019/20: 10
Controlled access 2019/20: Yes
Value: Half Unit