The 1992 struggle for design and technology

Ruth Wright
2008, Vol. 13, No. 1,


This article seeks to illustrate that there is a need to
collectively agree on the key purposes, nature, and value
of design and technology. Transcribed press cuttings of the
period are used to support this premise and also illustrate
that D&T policy can be formed and challenged by people,
not disembodied actors, on the outside of government
policy-making machinery. In exploring a case of a policyforming
struggle it purposefully utilises a practice (what
real people do) and narrative approach. Following a
general introduction, including dimensions of research in
policy fields, some other aspects of context – at theoretical
and practice level – are discussed before moving to a
story of a 1992-3 press debacle in England over the
nature of D&T. A brief early diversion from the story
provides further contextual background to one of the key
protagonists in the 1992 debate – the Engineering
Council. The paper then offers some further thoughts
before proposing that there needs to be a renewed
attempt at exploring the well-foundedness of policies
relating to design and technology, discussing positions on
a range of D&T matters, and establishing a collectively
agreed, explicit, and internally consistent policy position for
design and technology.


People ; Policy ; Design & technology ; Curriculum ; 1992

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