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Free Content Gender and discipline: publication practices in design

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Design research and writing began to appear in scholarly journals over 30 years ago, coinciding in Australia with the transition of design education into universities. Concurrently, a significant increase in the number of women in what could be considered a male-dominated profession and emergent discipline actuated feminist-informed women and design writing. While this writing raised important questions about gender and design, it is generally not cited in design literatures that do not have a specifically feminist focus, and as this article will attest, publication and citation rates demonstrate the dominance of men in positions of influence in scholarly design journals. This is particularly problematic for female design academics and for the field in the current audit climate in universities, whereby state-funded research output is measured by citation analysis systems. Drawing on feminist and Foucauldian theorizations of power and knowledge, and supported by an empirical audit and analysis of gender distribution in publication in two scholarly design journals, I argue first that scholarship as a form of social practice in new professional fields such as design is complexly disciplined and problematically gendered. Second, I argue that further empirical research, and new and different kinds of feminist-informed writing that attend closely to issues of gender, is required to productively disrupt and reconceptualize design scholarship as it is currently practiced.
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Keywords: design; feminism; gender; practice; publication; women

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Technology, Sydney.

Publication date: 01 July 2010

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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