Design + Anthropology: Converging Pathways in Anthropology and Design (Anthropology & Business) 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-1629583198
ISBN-10: 1629583197
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Editorial Reviews


"Design + Anthropology represents an important milestone in the creation of a new and important field of artistic and intellectual inquiry.  Drawing on both leading anthropological theorists and designers, it presents a unique synthesis of the importance of design in creating order out of chaos and thus creating tomorrow’s world. Both anthropologists and designers will read this book with great advantage."
Allen W. Batteau, Wayne State University, USA

“Miller masterfully illuminates the territory between anthropology and design by weaving together a wide range of voices into a rich narrative.  She has a great sense of what authors and events are particularly revealing, and includes important debates that have not been covered in other reviews of the field. This work stands out through its original, creative and highly rewarding approach.  An essential read for anyone interested in the intersection of anthropology and design.”
Christina Wasson, University of North Texas, USA

“In this highly relevant book Christine Miller bridges the gap between designers and anthropologists, describing how to create collaborative innovation networks to build interdisciplinary pathways between the yin and yang of innovation."
Peter A. Gloor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA

This book expertly accomplishes its ambitious aim “… to contribute to a vision of design anthropology as an emerging transdisciplinary field and global community of practice comprised of regionalized collaborative innovation networks.” This is a classic diffusion of innovations story with insights about the emergence and expansion of design anthropology and what it means for all of us.
Julia Gluesing, Wayne State University, USA

Design + Anthropology is the perfect book for those on a career path that twists and turns through multiple disciplines and practices. Miller traces the intersecting intellectual histories of both anthropology and design in a way that feels to me as though I am exploring a long-lost lineage. With one foot in, and one foot wandering out, of both of anthropology and design, this book helped me to see how we have arrived at design anthropology, and why it speaks to me as a practitioner of infrastructure and futures design.
Emilie Hitch, Thinkers & Makers

Christine Miller’s book is a fascinating account of the birth of a new field:  Design Anthropology.  In the early chapters, she tells the story of the field’s evolution from two separate disciplinary traditions.  In later chapters, she demonstrates the field’s rapid growth and diffusion, as well as its distinctive character on each side of the Atlantic. 

Chapter 3 on “Operationalizing Design Anthropology” is particularly compelling.  I was struck by two general points Miller made related to the concepts of role and time.

  • Role:  Design anthropologists are no longer “observers, analysts, and interpreters” of culture, but rather, “participants and agents in the processes of social and cultural transformation (57).”  For anthropologists, this shift in role represents a shift in focus, purpose, and identity as they take on an “intentionally interventionist and transformative perspective (3).”  
  • Time:  Design anthropologists look to the future, asking questions such as “what if and what might be” (65).  Their orientation to future-making entails working proactively and in collaboration with others.  Opportunities to imagine something new and different (e.g., an approach, framework, product) typically involve developing, testing, and refining with input from collaborators – including those who might be direct beneficiaries.

I also appreciated the way in which Miller articulated eight principles or elements of design anthropology:  “future orientation, iterative, critical, holistic, collaborative, transdisciplinary, performative, [and] emergent potentiality (67).”  Both designers and anthropologists will be able to identify the principles that are part of their particular disciplinary background.  Design anthropologists, on the other hand, will recognize the incorporation of all eight principles in this new transdisciplinary field.

Elizabeth Briody, Cultural Keys LLC

About the Author

Christine Miller is Clinical Associate Professor of Innovation in the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology, USA. Her research interests incorporate how sociality and culture influence the design and diffusion of new products, processes, and technologies. She studies technology-mediated communication and knowledge work flows within multiple discipline groups, teams, and networks and the emergence of collaborative innovation networks (COINs).

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Product details

  • Publisher : Routledge; 1st edition (December 5, 2017)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 128 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1629583197
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1629583198
  • Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6.14 x 0.29 x 9.21 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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