Design culture - design hubris: w(h)ither design studies?!

Maycroft, Neil (2014) Design culture - design hubris: w(h)ither design studies?! In: Design Culture: Object, Discipline and Practice, 18-19 September 2014, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Notable definitions of Design Culture have come from both established design scholarship (Julier) and from other disciplines (Highmore). Despite significant differences, there is convergence towards Design Culture as an object of research, a concomitant academic discipline oriented towards that object and as a form of social practice.

As a social scientist who has been teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate design students, across a range of design practice, in both the classroom and the studio, for twenty years I thought 'Design Studies' had been the appropriate term to describe my discipline. Covering both the contextual interrogation of the presence of design within culture and the specifics of what designers do, Design Studies seemed adequate to the task of apprehending the culture of design.

However, Design Culture seems to have much greater ambitions and this paper seeks to understand the genesis and appeal of Design Culture especially in light of Tonkinwise's recent defence of Design Studies. It will do this by examining,

• The changing definition of design as a creative practice, allied with...

• ...the overlapping expansion of design as a concept—often under the rubric of 'design thinking'

• The enlargement of the realms of social practice and 'objects' deemed to now fall within Design Culture's ambit

• The claim for a 'Design Culture' turn

The paper especially considers two particular, and related, challenges to Design Culture. The first is that Design Culture's claim to distinctiveness may licence a cavalier attitude towards non-Design Culture approaches. The second is that Design Culture's claim to comprehensiveness runs the risk of nothing being seen to be outside of Design Culture—either as object of attention or as academic discipline.

Keywords:Design, Studies, Culture, Language, Hubris
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Design)
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ID Code:15109
Deposited On:01 Oct 2014 17:10

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