Items where Subject is "Cultural History"

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Number of items at this level: 4.

F

In Theodor Adorno’s writing the term “natural history” has quite a different meaning to its usual scientific usage. Adorno’s idea of natural history aims at reconciling, in form and in content, the opposing forces of nature and history with the aim of overcoming the division of natural being and historical being that Adorno considered to be the central problem of critical social theory. Through sprawling installations the French contemporary artist Pierre Huyghe creates new forms of interaction between natural systems and artificial constructs. Huyghe’s body of work is submitted to interpretation through Adorno’s dialectic of nature and history to establish the relevance of both Huyghe’s practice and Adorno’s thought to the conditions of the Anthropocene.

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H

In spite of the long-lived and ongoing trade in plastic flowers, they are scarcely mentioned in books on plastics and in accounts of the history and craft of artificial flowers. This chapter considers the cultural, historical and commercial value of plastic flowers. In its consideration of the presence, popularity and provocative nature of plastic flowers, notions of taste and different attitudes towards plastics and plastic flowers, it draws on the views of designers, key manufacturers, academics and professionals associated with design, horticulture and floristry. It argues that plastic flowers have and continue to make, an important contribution to design and culture, even though they can disgust as well as delight.

L

Plastics have now been our most used materials for over fifty years. This book adopts a new approach, exploring plastics’ contribution from two perspectives: as a medium for making and their value in societal use. The first approach examines the multivalent nature of plastics materiality and their impact on creativity through the work of artists, designers and manufacturers. The second perspective explores attitudes to plastics and the different value systems applied to them through current research undertaken by design, materials and socio-cultural historians. The book addresses the environmental impact of plastics and elucidates the ways in which they can and must be part of the solution. The individual viewpoints are provocative and controversial but together they present a balanced and scholarly un-picking of the debate that surrounds this ubiquitous group of materials.

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W

Drawing on previously unpublished company archives, this book considers Marks & Spencer's contribution to British – and, since the 1970s, international – fashion. Rachel Worth discusses how, from the 1920s, the company brought fashion to the high street, offering well-designed clothing at affordable prices. She analyses the unique ways in which the company democratised fashion, arguing that its pioneering role in the development of new fabrics, the employment of designers as consultants and its marketing and promotional strategies have changed the ways in which we understand and consume fashion.

This book received Arts and Humanities Research Council Funding (AHRC).

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