Design Theory and Mass Culture Before the First World War
ISBN10: 0300068980 ISBN13: 9780300068986 Publisher: Yale Univ Pr Published: Dec 25 1996 Pages: 262 Weight: 2.50lbs. Height: 10.50" Width: 8.00" Depth: 1.00" Language: English
Nice copy! Clean, tight binding, bright. Wrapped in mylar.
During the period before World War I, the German Werkbund was at the center of attempts to forge new theories of architecture and design in light of the momentous technological and economic developments of modernity. In this fascinating book, Frederic J. Schwartz explores the ideological and aesthetic positions at the core of debates that embroiled the prominent architects, critics, sociologists, economists, and politicians who had united in the Werkbund during this pivotal era.
Taking the Werkbund out of the shadow of 1920s developments in architecture and design that have received more attention, Schwartz casts new light on this earlier historical movement. He shows that the concerns of the group went far beyond aesthetics, as design became a major testing ground for a new self-consciousness about the effects of consumerism and commodification in modern culture. Schwartz explores how a theoretical dialogue developed between the Werkbund and sociologists such as Georg Simmel and Werner Sombart, how economists' ideas about the cultural nature of the consumer market led to an ill-fated call for the development of "types," and how a group of "individualists" within the organization developed an opposing position by taking into account changes in copyright and trademark laws that had begun to govern the economic use of visual form in quite concrete ways. It is to the debates in and around the Werkbund, Schwartz asserts, that we must look to find important roots of the mass culture theory associated with Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and other thinkers of the Frankfurt School.