Not available in 2023/24
SO475 Half Unit
Material Culture and Design
This information is for the 2023/24 session.
Dr Don Slater STC S310
This course is available on the MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Economy and Society and MSc in Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). Places are allocated based on a written statement, with priority given to students on the MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Economy and Society and MSc in Sociology. This may mean that not all students who apply will be able to get a place on this course.
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 AT.
Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in AT 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 WT.
An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the second Thursday of Winter Term.
Attendance at all classes and submission of all set coursework is required.
Total students 2022/23: Unavailable
Average class size 2022/23: Unavailable
Controlled access 2022/23: No
Value: Half Unit
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