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The Design of Everyday Life (Cultures of Consumption) by Elizabeth Shove

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By Elizabeth Shove

How do universal home items akin to easy plastic condominium wares or high-tech electronic cameras rework our day-by-day lives? The layout of daily life considers this query intimately, from the layout of goods via to their use in the house. Drawing on interviews with shoppers themselves, the authors examine how daily gadgets, starting from screwdrivers to photograph administration software program, are used on a realistic point. heavily investigating the layout, creation and use of mass-market items, the authors supply new interpretations of ways shoppers' wishes are met and synthetic. They study the dynamic interplay of goods with daily practices. The layout of way of life bargains a clean point of view on fabric tradition, drawing crucial--and formerly overlooked--links among layout, intake and use.

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This may be so for some. However, most of our respondents were quite keenly interested in making things ‘work’, and in configuring material arrangements so as to foster or ‘script’ very particular forms of family life. Mick and Barbara reorganized their kitchen fittings and furniture with the explicit aim of changing patterns of social interaction. The result was not entirely what they wanted: We’ve completely revamped it, put a brand new kitchen in, we’ve extended partly into the garage to make it bigger .

According to Gelber (1997), the phrase Do-It-Yourself, which was used in US advertising as early as 1912, did not become common currency until the 1950s. However, its taken-for-granted application to a distinct set of activities and its contraction to ‘DIY’ seems particular to the UK in the late twentieth century. Some of this cultural specificity remains today. 2 Differences of terminology complicate the task of locating scholarly discussion of the subject, but this is not the only problem. Despite its scale and significance as a social phenomenon, DIY does not figure prominently in social scientific or historical analyses, either of leisure or of consumption.

Two points are especially relevant. First, this model suggests that the synchronic convergence of materials and practices into contemporary configurations and patterns of everyday life is of immediate relevance for actual (as opposed to imagined) pathways of future development. In addition, it provides a generically relevant method of thinking about how new materials and circumstances engender new expectations and practices, whilst also explaining diversity and variation in the detail of what this means.

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