Design at Home : Domestic Advice Books in Britain and the USA since 1945
When read retrospectively, domestic advice literature is a telling channel of mediation, rich in information about design, ideals of domesticity, consumption, social interaction and issues of identity such as gender, age, class and ethnicity, with much potential to inform work in design history, cultural and social history, American studies, popular culture studies, women’s and gender studies and youth and family studies. Yet, domestic advice literature remains a relatively neglected resource in comparison with magazines and film, for example. Where it has been discussed, it has either been treated as an accurate record of lived experience, or questioned as an untrustworthy published discourse, all but irrelevant to proper historical understanding. Design at Home brings together etiquette, homemaking and home decoration sources in the first systematic demonstration of the historical value of the category of domestic advice literature as a genre of word and image and a discourse of dominance.