Postgraduate Course: Anthropology by Design (PGSP11548)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course engages with both established and developing contemporary scholarship and debates concerning anthropological approaches to design.
The course aims to enrich and supplement broader disciplinary studies across anthropology, as well as scholarship concerned with material culture.
Design is entangled in and around contemporary debates, academic scholarship and current affairs. But what is design and what can the anthropology of design tell us about culture, politics, power and social change? From questions around the design of everyday technologies and materials, to design as a solution to poverty, inequality and injustice, this course will explore how design practice and design thinking has become a solution to the key challenges of our time.
This course links together emerging scholarship in the anthropology of design with discussions about design practices and cultures in everyday life. The course will touch upon core epistemological debates in social and political theory, addressing the relationship of design to modernity, capitalism and environmental crisis. These core issues will be embedded in established and contemporary debates which have surrounded design as an object and subject constituting and constituted by broader social phenomena. We will discuss, for example, design as culture; design in our everyday lives with things; design in contemporary and historical political, economic, and creative movements; design and power; design as innovation and improvisation; design as repair and maintenance; design in contexts of global poverty and international development and design in the Anthropocene.
Design as Culture
- What is the relationship between design and what anthropologists call culture?
- What does it mean to speak of cultures of design?
Our Lives with Things
- What can we learn about design by interrogating the world around us?
- How do studies of design overlap with classic anthropological approaches to the study of material culture?
The Power of Design
- What kinds of ideological and discursive power relationships do designers build into material things?
- How can we use approaches to design to see or reveal power in new ways?
Innovation and improvisation
- Is design the creation of 'prefigured' solutions to problems or our capacity to respond with flexibility to our environments?
Repair, Fixing, Maintenance
- How does the failure and breakdown of consumer goods reveal the limits of design in our contemporary world.
Development by Design
- How have attempts to improve the lives of distant others become centred on the design of technologies, devices, and products?
The Anthropocene by Design
- How does the anthropology of design help us to understand the Anthropocene?
- How does the anthropology of design help us to engage with climate change and our responses to it?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 2 social science courses (such as Sociology, Politics, Social Policy, Social Anthropology etc) at grade B and above.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate and/or work with a critical overview of the Anthropology of Design and Design Anthropology, including a critical understanding of key theories, concepts and debates.
- Apply knowledge, skills and understanding by using a significant range of principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with anthropology, including ethnography, to design and execute research focused or investigative projects to deal with new problems and issues.
- Apply a constant and integrated approach to critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas, information and issues and develop original/creative responses to problems and issues.
- Communicate at an appropriate level to a range of audiences and adapt communication to the context and purpose.
- Demonstrate substantial authority and exercise a high level of autonomy and initiative in research led writing activities, taking full responsibility for their own and significant responsibility for a range of resources.
|Escobar, Arturo. Designs for the pluriverse: Radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds. Duke University Press, 201|
Ingold, Tim. Design and Anthropology. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2013.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||By the end of the course, students should have strengthened their skills in:
- analysing evidence and using this to develop and support a line of argument,
- bringing anthropological approaches to bear on an issue of contemporary significance
|Course organiser||Dr Jamie Cross
|Course secretary||Miss Becky Guthrie