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Developing an Interdisciplinary, Discursive Methodology to ‘See’ Government Emblems
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Design historians frequently struggle to place design artefacts that are ‘outside of the realm of consumption’ and do not readily fit into the accepted historical design canon. This is in part due to the limitations of commonly used methodologies. This paper discusses the formulation of an alternative, discursive methodology and its application to a historical study of government emblems. Discursive methodology facilitates consideration of government emblems simultaneously as design artefacts and political symbols. It does this by contextualising the emblems within the massive changes faced by the local design industry and local government in mid-1990s Victoria. The research thus avoids a common criticism of design histories, the object/canon bias. Close study of Foucault's work along with the work of Foucauldian scholars reveals the importance of his views on and approach to historical investigation for design historians. This paper discusses these theories, formulates them into a workable methodology for historical inquiry, and then discusses the application of the methodology to the development of an interdisciplinary history of government emblems.