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In these four volumes, leading design thinker Clive Dilnot addresses central issues for our understanding of design and its place in the world. The individual volumes deal respectively with history, configuration, ethics and knowledge.
In On History, Dilnot considers the state and status of design history. He views design history as the history of industrial capitalism, situating the history of design as a contribution to capitalist, economic and social history. Here Dilnot asks how we understand both economics in the strict sense and also the as the wider political economies of early and late capitalism.
On History also explores the idea of agency in design, and looks at how designers negotiate forces and circumstances, referencing Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Luis Barragan, but with a major focus on the question of how we model the complexity of design agency and draw from that a methodology of history. Finally, Dilnot addresses the idea of design as a redemptive force, offering an extended manifesto of the ethical force of historical work in relation to design.
This is an important update of one of Dilnot's seminal theoretical works, and it should be of interest to all design scholars and practitioners.