The Growth of the Design Disciplines in the United States, 1984-2010
Ilhan, Ali Ogulcan
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Everything we touch, sit on, use and lean against is designed. Design disciplines (e.g. architecture, landscape architecture, city/urban planning, interior design and industrial design) play an extremely significant role in shaping the man-made environment we live in. They help to populate it with cars, furniture, buildings, clothes, cell phones, and countless other artifacts and also play a significant role in producing innovations that drive successful companies in a challenging and fiercely competitive global market. Perhaps more importantly, the consumption and use of designed goods, spaces, and services produce, reproduce, and mediate our very identities and culture.Despite their cultural, economic, and political significance, design professions are understudied in sociology. In sociology, the few available case studies of design professions emphasize professional practice and tend not to study the higher education system, where professional designers are produced. Moreover, there are no studies in sociology that examine academic design disciplines comparatively. This dissertation undertakes a quantitative, macro-comparative study of the institutionalization and growth of design disciplines in the US during the past 26 years, 1984-2010, using a unique longitudinal dataset. Through analysis of the intra- and extra-institutional resources and conditions that promote the growth of design disciplines and comparing their growth to those of art and engineering, this study provides valuable insights to policymakers and administrators who seek to make meaningful interventions within the academy and will advance sociological understanding of the changing organization of academic knowledge.