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PHD-DESIGN  July 2018

PHD-DESIGN July 2018

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Subject:

Re: Frontiers of design research: human-centered vs. ecologically entangled, vs. (something else?)

From:

"Krippendorff, Klaus" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 24 Jul 2018 03:17:43 +0000

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Hi Ali, 
 
At the university of Pennsylvania we have a History and Sociology of Science department granting degrees in Science, Technology & Society: 
https://hss.sas.upenn.edu/undergraduate/science-technology-society-major 
the subject I am teaching is close enough but concern the implication of language in the construction of social realities, technology and how it being used is part of it. 
 
Yes, the program is taught by scholars with diverse expertise able to look into the role of technology in medicine, war, democracy, ecology, science, gender issues -- you name it. But trying to understand how a development happened is no recipe of how technological development continues. If it were predictable, we wouldn’t need designers but robots that calculate the next step. 
 
You provided a link to "maintainers." I grant you that newness for the sake of newness can be disruptive, witness the increasingly efficient extraction of non-renewable resources that spells out doom in the future -- unless someone finds a way to make use of a renewable energy. But this is dealing with somewhat objectively measurable quantities on a global scale.  Think about the increasing production of handguns to maintain safety in schools or keep undesirable populations in prison. I hope you see the absurdity of maintaining some variables which is often achieved at the expense of other variables. 
 
I have been suggesting that designers should be socially responsible, not just by thinking of decision criteria like is a product biodegradable, affordable by many, etc. there is far more at stake. Ecology is an empirically validated theory of the dynamic implications of multiple species interacting with each other in supportive, constraining, and compositionally changing environments. Some things we want to get rid of like the inflectional diseases, deadly viruses, other species (biological and technological) we want to numerically increase. An ecology is always in motion. 
 
One thing that all ecological studies have taught us that one can never go back. Aren't your maintainers getting it? 
 
Klaus   
 
the point  
 
-----Original Message----- 
From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ali Ilhan 
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2018 2:36 PM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Frontiers of design research: human-centered vs. ecologically entangled, vs. (something else?) 
 
Dear Klaus, 
 
I respectfully disagree. STS is much more than sociology/social science: it is a complex assemblage of many different people coming from a variety of backgrounds, some very applied and some only doing basic research. In my humble opinion, there are too many attempts to change the world, especially from designers, that are simply too eager to jump the gun, without really understanding what is going on, that end in disaster. I think we need to stop obssesing about inovating and slow down. Maintaining is sometimes as important as changing. This is why, I sent some work from the Maintainers in the past to the list: http://themaintainers.org 
 
Second, and more importantly all applied field needs to have a healthy balance between understanding and doing. In most, if not all classical design fields, this balance is tilted towards doing, Successful medical and psychological interventions are based on years of basic and applied research. I see too many examples of "design interventions" that fail simply because no serious and careful attempt has been made simply to understand. For example, there are many "design for social innovation projects" that do not even slightly mention years of solid sociological and political science research about social movements, poverty, inequality etc. 
and try to rediscover the wheel and change the "world" in a very short time span. 
 
You said "Design research needs to address what could happen when designers and their stakeholders pull their intellectual and material resources together and proposing something un precedented". In my opinion, if design research only focuses on what you describe, it would be very unfortunate 
for the future of the field.   Design research should not solely address 
doing and changing. If anything, we need more STS, not less. Of course, I do not claim to represent the majority opinion here :) 
 
Yours, 
 
ali 
 
On Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 20:50 Krippendorff, Klaus < [log in to unmask]> wrote: 
 
> STS is a sociology focused on explanations of how technology is  
> integrated into social structures and facilitates or confines them. I  
> found it very useful to know something about the social roles that  
> technology has nd played in the past. 
> 
> However, all STStudies describe what happened in the past. Design  
> research needs to address what could happen when designers and their  
> stakeholders pull their intellectual and material resources together  
> and proposing something un precedented. Design that doesn’t contribute  
> to changing the very world that STS describes isn’t worth that name. 
> 
> Klaus 
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
> 
> 
 
 
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