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Design, National Imaginaries, and the Home Furnishings Commodity Chain

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  • SUZANNE REIMER
  • DEBORAH LESLIE

Abstract

This paper introduces the concept of national imaginaries as a means of foregrounding the continuing influence of ideas about the nation on understandings of commodity production and circulation. National imaginaries are of crucial importance to the home furnishings commodity network, flowing across sites of consumption, retailing, design, and production. Drawing upon the findings of a larger cross-national research project, the paper discusses three cases in which the characterisation of distinctive national design identities was particularly prominent. These include the representation of designers in the UK and Canada as "national heroes," and the tendency to measure British and Canadian design against a third national imaginary: that of Italy. A final case considers discursive constructions of national economic trajectories-of "success" or "failure"-within accounts of the British and Canadian furniture industries. It is argued that future work on the differentiating advantages, which may accrue to creative or cultural industries in particular localities, also should be attentive to the ways in which the place of the nation is used to construct imaginative geographies. Copyright 2008 Blackwell Publishing.

Suggested Citation

  • Suzanne Reimer & Deborah Leslie, 2008. "Design, National Imaginaries, and the Home Furnishings Commodity Chain," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 144-171.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:39:y:2008:i:1:p:144-171
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2257.2007.00409.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Bertacchini Enrico & Borrione Paola, 2009. "The city mouse and the country mouse: the geography of creativity and cultural production in Italy," EBLA Working Papers 200902, University of Turin.
    2. Andy Pike, 2013. "Economic Geographies of Brands and Branding," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 89(4), pages 317-339, October.

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