The consumed object

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter differentiates disciplinary perspectives, investigates some of the assumptions behind the categories of objects and consumption, and proposes market studies as a meeting point between studies of design and consumption. Design history has drawn from art history, cultural studies, feminist theory, philosophy, cultural studies, and science and technology studies. This chapter first investigates the possibility of a closer alliance between design history and the subfield of marketing research known as Consumer Culture Theory (CCT). Like design history, CCT is a recently formed field of study. CCT emerged from a tradition of qualitative research and investigates the processes and effects of consumption as the object of analysis. Because these fields operate at different scales of analysis and contain different assumptions about the constitution of objects and the teleology of consumption, a comparison illuminates the potential for introspection and collaboration that could contribute significantly to the analytical toolkit and research output of both fields. Furthermore, since design history and CCT have always been interdisciplinary fields, comparing existing disciplinary alliances and assumptions can also be of use in identifying additional disciplinary approaches that to date have been overlooked. While the first part of this chapter explores the potential points of connection between design history and CCT, the conclusion of this chapter considers the utility of market studies as a meeting point to highlight the importance of integrating approaches across the scale of analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Contemporary Design since 1945
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781119112297
ISBN (Print)9781119111184
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Consumer culture theory
  • Design history
  • Design studies
  • Market studies
  • Object-oriented ontology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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