The authors would like to acknowledge research support from the Economic and Social Research Council (Award No. R000237580) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Award No. 410-97-0335). Many thanks to the anonymous referees for their comments on an earlier draft. The final responsibility for the paper remains ours.
Design, National Imaginaries, and the Home Furnishings Commodity Chain
Article first published online: 1 FEB 2008
2008 Blackwell Publishing
Growth and Change
Volume 39, Issue 1, pages 144–171, March 2008
How to Cite
REIMER, S. and LESLIE, D. (2008), Design, National Imaginaries, and the Home Furnishings Commodity Chain. Growth and Change, 39: 144–171. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2257.2007.00409.x
- Issue published online: 1 FEB 2008
- Article first published online: 1 FEB 2008
- Submitted July 2006; revised June 2007; accepted July 2007.
ABSTRACT This paper introduces the concept of national imaginaries as a means of foregrounding the continuing influence of ideas about the nation on understandings of commodity production and circulation. National imaginaries are of crucial importance to the home furnishings commodity network, flowing across sites of consumption, retailing, design, and production. Drawing upon the findings of a larger cross-national research project, the paper discusses three cases in which the characterisation of distinctive national design identities was particularly prominent. These include the representation of designers in the UK and Canada as “national heroes,” and the tendency to measure British and Canadian design against a third national imaginary: that of Italy. A final case considers discursive constructions of national economic trajectories—of “success” or “failure”—within accounts of the British and Canadian furniture industries. It is argued that future work on the differentiating advantages, which may accrue to creative or cultural industries in particular localities, also should be attentive to the ways in which the place of the nation is used to construct imaginative geographies.