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Design and political economy in the UK

Guy Julier

pp. 217-225


The period of the United Kingdom's Labour government, 1997–2010, saw two strident policy vectors. One was in the promotion of the creative industries as a lever for urban regeneration and national renewal in the face of the decline of its manufacturing base and the globalisation of its economy. The second was in the increased emphasis on financialisation to underpin both corporate and public sectors. Both of these were, in fact, intensifications of former Conservative policies developed through the early 1990s. This paper reviews some changes in the UK government policy on design, principally through its Design Council, as a function of the political economy during this period. It draws attention to important shifts in the professional practice of design and governmental promotion and use thereof—especially of service design and "design thinking"—that suggest a new attitudinal approach as to its role. It then places these shifts next to changes in public sector management and thinking. In particular, we see how certain conceptions and practices of design become embedded in its signalling of value in potentia rather than in putting value into things.

Publication details

Published in:

(2009) Knowledge, Technology & Policy 22 (4).

Seiten: 217-225

DOI: 10.1007/s12130-009-9090-z


Julier Guy (2009) „Design and political economy in the UK“. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 22 (4), 217–225.