The great aim is accurate, precise and definite description. The first thing is to recognise how extraordinarily difficult this is. It is no mere matter of carefulness; you have to use language, and language is by its very nature a communal thing; that is, it expresses never the exact thing but a compromise — that which is common to you, me and everybody. But each man sees a little differently, and to get out clearly and exactly what he does see, he must have a terrific struggle with language . . . [which] has its own special nature, its own conventions and communal ideas. It is only by a concentrated effort of the mind that you can hold it fixed to your own purpose. 1
This module examines the political aspects of design and craft from the perspective of their role in fashioning and being fashioned by specific identities – political, social, religious and gender – in national and international contexts. It presents central themes in field of art and design, and draws on critical debates to examine the historical and contemporary relation between design and craft, mass consumption, nationalism, corporate capitalism and sustainability. It focuses on a set of case studies drawn from global sources to examine the political character of design and craft processes, and their role in constructing, promoting and resisting formations of identity. The content includes the analysis of the design in the context British colonial and post-colonial identity; Eastern European and Asian design; protest and activism; the politics of the handmade; and critical and speculative approaches to design.