From dad to 'Dropper': The evolving readership of the DIY manual in post-war North America

Smith, Cathy (2011). From dad to 'Dropper': The evolving readership of the DIY manual in post-war North America. In: Antony Moulis and Deborah van der Plaat, Audience: Proceedings of the XXVIIIth International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. SAHANZ 2011: Audience. XXVIIIth International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (1-14). 7-10 July 2011.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Smith, Cathy
Title of paper From dad to 'Dropper': The evolving readership of the DIY manual in post-war North America
Conference name SAHANZ 2011: Audience. XXVIIIth International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Conference location Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 7-10 July 2011
Convener Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)
Proceedings title Audience: Proceedings of the XXVIIIth International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Place of Publication Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Publisher Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)
Publication Year 2011
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9780646558264
0646558269
Editor Antony Moulis
Deborah van der Plaat
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
This paper examines the evolution of the DIY manual in post-war America, from the 1940s to the 1970s. An examination of key texts of this time—including DIY manuals—reveals the changing nature of DIY and its expanded ‘architectural’ audience. The paper highlights two DIY discourse streams and their target audiences: the DIY discourse associated with the general DIY phenomenon in post-war North America, particularly in the 1940s and 1950s, and; the discourse associated with DIY in the countercultural scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Both discourses refer to DIY sensibilities, however, each associates the deployment of DIY with very different socio-economic and political intentions, and; with a very different audience. An examination of key North American post-war DIY literature by Albert Roland, Carolyn Goldstein and Steven Gelber—and publications in Time and House Beautiful—identifies key issues of the DIY phenomenon in America in the immediate post-war period. This general discourse pertaining to the DIY phenomenon associates DIY with the nuclear family, socio-economic status, consumerism, and masculinity: hallmarks of a conservative post-war society. In contrast, the later discourse in the 1960s and 1970s pertaining to countercultural DIY involved the rejection many of the aforementioned hallmarks of conservatism. An examination of texts by countercultural historians Andrew Kirk and Fred Turner, as well as DIY texts and manuals of the time including WEC and Shelter, may suggest DIY became a mode of operation reappropriated from the mainstream and deployed for critical intentions by a countercultural audience.
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Presented during Open Session 9C. Published in full on the Proceedings CD-ROM enclosed with the Proceedings. Abstract published on pp 53-54.

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
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Created: Thu, 11 Aug 2011, 13:05:12 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of School of Architecture