Summary

"Where does stuff come from? To find out, Harvey Molotch goes behind the scenes for the details behind the products - like the garlic press, the Palm Pilot, and the "gangster" PT Cruiser. We find ourselves in the design studio, on the factory floor, and at the local plumbing store, learning how goods end up with the capacity to be made, to sell, and to be used. Molotch shows how the look, the touch, and the mechanics of any product reflect the way our culture and economy combine - how we interact, do business, exploit technology, and use art. In his hands, the toaster is not just a toaster; it becomes a map to the world." "From ancient artifacts to contemporary gadgets, we learn why some products, like lamps and toys, respond quickly to Fashion, while others, like pencils and toilets, stay stuck. We see how retailers and other "middle-men" influence what a thing can be and why some cities become creative milieus that put their own unique stamp on stuff. We find out how the sparks of creativity turn into material form - sometimes to delight, same times to offend." "Where Stuff Comes From suggests that if we want more socially and environmentally benign products, we need to better understand the product system we now have. Ultimately, Molotch suggests how a new design politics can yield a better world."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


No toaster is an island. In fact, as Harvey Molotch demonstrates in this revealing tour of how things are created, the everyday objects of our life are a delicate and clever intermingling of design, timing and functionality that mirrors contemporary life. Where Stuff Comes From is about paper clips, post-its, bathtubs, cars and all the other stuff in our lives. It is about how these items were imagined into existence and made a part of the American material culture. From the designer to the manufacturer to the business owner to the consumer, Molotch guides us through the worlds of technology, design, corporate culture and popular culture, giving us a sense of how and why we want stuff. He rolls up his sleeves and goes behind the scenes at trade shows and in design studios to speak with the product-makers who gave us the world's best-selling garlic press, the Nike swoosh and Volkswagen's resurrected Beetle.