Date of Award
Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Graphic Design and University Honors
Art + Design
This text proposes the development and implementation of methods of critical sociological inquiry in the graphic design field, contending that such methods would allow for a holistic understanding of the changing working conditions of graphic designers, as well as encourage graphic designers to critically engage with the politics of their work. To this end, I trace the tradition of ‘workers’ inquiry’ or ‘co-research’ to its source, Karl Marx’s 1880 “A Workers’ Inquiry”, a questionnaire he created with the aim of increasing knowledge of proletarian working conditions. I take stock of the contemporary critical discourse and the limited sociological research that exists around graphic design work. From there, I draw parallels between the rapidly changing working conditions of the late industrial revolution that compelled Marx to write the “Inquiry” and the period of technological change we find ourselves in today. Finally, I explain the reasoning behind my adaptation of the original “Workers’ Inquiry” for contemporary graphic designers to create a document that would increase knowledge of working conditions in graphic design, as well as encourage designers to critically engage with the politics of their work, consider themselves in relation to the history of work, and compare our historical moment with the technological turn of the industrial revolution.
Daenen, Grace, "Revisiting "A Workers' Inquiry": Towards a Critical Sociology of Graphic Design" (2023). University Honors Theses. Paper 1402.
Available for download on Wednesday, June 19, 2024