Categorized: Design
November 24, 2011

Design Research: A Thanksgiving Taxonomy

  • actor network theory
  • Bruno Latour
  • funny
  • Thanksgiving
Photo: scottwebb

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, please enjoy this taxonomy based on Terrence Love’s Meta-Theoretical Structure for Design Theory. May you end the day with empirical evidence that you’ve enjoyed a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for:

1: Direct perception of realities
The sound of my colleagues sharing their own epiphanies.

2: Description of Objects
A quiz question that contains the word “Weltanschauung.”

3: Behavior of Elements
A red pen that has rendered my lit review illegible due to the density of marks.

4: Mechanisms of Choice
Times when I have had to decide to sleep or to read Latour for the nineteenth time to attempt to understand him.

5: Design Methods
How my colleagues gather before Design Research Theory to skim content, then discuss, and then at some point to talk about how we will all never think the same way about design again.

6: Design Process Structure
The influences that led to project group names like Margolin, Butterscotch, and Wilma.

7: Theories about the Internal Processes of Designers and Collaboration
How my colleagues and I all are so different in our practice backgrounds but how we use those nuances to enhance our collaborative work.

8: General Design Theories
Design someday becomes a discipline. Though this presumes that upon graduation my colleagues and I can convince others that the design of a Fruit Loops box has politics and in turn is as dangerous as a loaded rifle (this one made of sugar) that will eventually be used to gun down children and puppies alike leading to a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian state (that is, unless others start seeing design and designers for what they’re worth.)

9: Epistemology of Design Theory and the Theories of Objects
Design research is so fraught with an identity crisis that we’re all asking “what the heck is this thing and will we even know it when we see it?”

10: Ontology of Design
The Design Research Center card reader’s erratic behavior prompted me to reconsider states of being “inside” or “outside”, though it has helped clarify the state of being “tardy.”

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that the turkey, NFL football, your iPhone, the relish tray, neighbor’s yappy Shih-Tzu, sour Chardonnay, and your felon-brother will all stay balanced in the great Actor Network Theory of your holiday. And if things get a little crazy, just black box those suckers and go read some Buchanan so you can better understand the wicked problem that is “quality time with family.”

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