Introduction
Labour, design and culture
in Hot metal
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This introductory chapter first establishes the disciplinary spectrum within which Hot Metal operates. It outlines how recent studies of design and material culture have focused less on production and labour, and more on consumption, interpretation and professional design, and examines the place of material culture in labour history. The Introduction opens the path to demonstrating a more effective way to interweave studies of working life, labour and design, while retaining the voices of the workers (through oral history), without aestheticising or sentimentalising labour experience. The chapter also introduces Sydney’s Government Printing Office as a rich and revealing case study that holds valuable lessons for those examining the cultural and social impacts of deindustrialisation in late capitalist economies. Finally, the Introduction sets the economic and political scene in Sydney between the 1960s and the 1980s: important background for understanding the changes that the print-workers experienced.

Hot metal

Material culture and tangible labour

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