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Accepted Paper:

The social life of concepts in Design Anthropology  
Adam Drazin (University College London)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores design concepts and explores why 'concepts' are appropriate in design work, in terms of material form and as a way of packaging thought

Paper long abstract:

Anthropology's turn to the material in recent decades has problematised notions of knowledge as abstract, and engagements with design (which can imply progress) are confronting a reticence to engage with causality in anthropological understandings. I elaborate on the material culture of design concepts, and rituals of creativity, in an EU-funded design programme, HP Labs, and Intel. An exaggerated interest with artefactuality characterises the treatment of ethnographic knowledge. Concept is here the name given to knowledge at the interface of the material and immaterial, existing as a flux whose social life is given momentum by an iterative oscillation between research group and field site in which each alternately assumes the role of critical subject. Such processes can lead to different understandings of social practice from traditional ethnographic processes. I advocate a renewed attention to using iterative design processes for the anthropological process, and theoretical attention to new critical materialist approaches.

Panel W047
Design anthropology: intertwining different timelines, scales and movements
  Session 1