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Tag Archives: Cultural Identity

Design and Cultural Identity – A Return to Fundamentalism?

David Report is an influential blog and online magazine that since 2006 writes about trends in the intersection of design, culture and business. Their readers share their interest and curiosity in everything from art, architecture, culture, design and fashion to food, innovation, music, sustainability and travel.

Their biannual in-depth reports offer cutting-edge critical thought. The reports are trying to make a difference by challenging the conventional mindset.

One of their reports treats the connection between design and culture and the new cultural strands re-appearing related with the idea of national design focused on authenticity and meaningful use of identity.

Design and Culture have always been closely interrelated, but in many instances design is flaunted as the true measure of culture, rather than belonging to part of cultural context of the society. Design has become the embodiment of a larger process of creative ‘culture-mongering’ that has become a means to capture ideation, innovation and enterprise and made to stand for cultural identity.

The comprehensive scale and the rapid growth of globalism has undermined independent cultural identities, due to the disparate nature of where design and production takes place, and lack of knowledge concerning the true origin of materials and products. This is further confused by a combination of diverse sourcing, and unsustainable methods of labour and manufacture.

In addition, the world financial crisis of the last three years has seriously undermined the traditional sense of culture in the West, giving rise to a myriad of niche sub-cultures. Niches that are primarily sourced and transacted digitally over the Internet, and whose origin and sourcing are both hybrid and the result of fusion. These products are largely concealed in processing and fabrication techniques, and are non-brands that are camouflaged.

However, there are signs that despite this confusion and fusion of cultural identities, new cultural strands are being revived and are re-appearing. Some are intended and strategically driven, and some indirect reactions to the desire to reclaim a more long lasting cultural integrity. There has been a return to a type of ’Cultural Fundamentalism’ which has been prompted by a reconsideration of the roots of national design in Europe, led by Dutch Design, and more  recently by Flemish and Scandinavian Design. With new Swedish Design in furniture and product leading areas of sustainability, use of materials and relating to areas of cultural nostalgia and design anthropology.

You will find full version of David Report’s article here:

Chinese Diaspora by Pok Chi Lau

“>Black and white photo of two Chinese prostitutes in Hong Kong

Prostitutes in Shen Zhen, a border city north of Hong Kong. Images © 2003 Pok Chi Lau. All rights reserved.

Pok Chi Lau has focused on the contemporary cultural and social transformations brought about by human migration. Through photography, writing and video he seeks to illuminate the impact of global migration upon the private lives and social environments of the Chinese people, both in the Chinese homeland and their adopted environs. To understand the Chinese Diaspora is to acknowledge the significance of human patterns of global migration as they shape individual experiences and emerging cultures.



Diasporas: Concepts, Intersections, Identities

The front cover of the book- the map of the world
Diasporas: Concepts, Intersections, Identities
Edited by Kim Knott and Seán McLoughlin

Featuring essays by world-renowned scholars, Diasporas charts the various ways in which global population movements and associated social, political and cultural issues have been seen through the lens of diaspora.
Wide ranging and interdisciplinary, this collection considers critical concepts shaping the field, such as migration, ethnicity, post-colonialism and cosmopolitanism. It also examines key intersecting agendas and themes, including political economy, security, race, gender and material and electronic culture. Original case studies of contemporary as well as clasical diasporas are featured, mapping new directions in research and testing the usefulness of diaspora for analysing the complexity of transnational lives today.

Professor Kim Knott is the director of the Diasporas, Migration and Identities Programme of the University of Leeds.


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