Researching culture: a practical how-to for designers

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A presentation with audio that gives a practical way for designers to study culture.

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  • Essential finding from Latour:\n\n- Door-closers can be human and non-human\n- non-human door-closers are just as much a part of our world as human ones\n- We actually include non-humans in our world much more than we think\n- we anthropomorphize these non-humans\n- when we “delegate” our responsibility to close the door, we lose the moral responsibility to do so\n\nWhat happens when you create an automatically closing door?\n\n
  • Go out and find some doors in a single, spatially bounded place. A single subway station. A single building. An enclosed park. A single place.\n\nTake pictures. Interview. Record. \n\nSort through the significances.\n\nStart with behaviours:\n- universals\n- specialities\n- alternatives\n- peculiarities\n\nObserve symbols\n\nInfer values using the value orientation model. What do these behaviours and symbols say about this organization’s value system?\n
  • Researching culture: a practical how-to for designers

    1. 1. Researching cultureA practical how-to for designersDr. Sam LadnerCopernicus ConsultingBe sure to download the accompanying audio!
    2. 2. Overview• Geertz’s theory on culture• What is culture? – Values – Behaviours – Symbols• Crestwood Heights• Designing doors – The moral implications of design
    3. 3. “Believing, with Max Weber, that man (sic) is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs.”Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books., p. 5
    4. 4. A twitch
    5. 5. A twitch A wink
    6. 6. A twitch A wink A parodied wink
    7. 7. “Analysis, then, is sorting out the structures of signification.”Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books., p. 9
    8. 8. A twitch is a brute thing. It has no meaning because its creator has no intentionality in meaning.
    9. 9. “...culture consists of socially established structures of meaning in terms of which people do such things as signal conspiracies...”Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books., p. 13
    10. 10. What is culture? Values Behaviours Symbols
    11. 11. Why study culture in design?
    12. 12. Value orientation model Adapted from Kluckhohn, F. R. (1953). Dominant and variant value orientations. Personality in Nature, Society and Culture. . J. a. K. Murrayh, F.R. New York, Knopf: 346.
    13. 13. Examples of value orientations
    14. 14. Types of behaviours• Universals• Specialities• Alternatives• Peculiarities Adapted from Linton, R. 1936. The Study of Man. New York: Appleton-Century Co.
    15. 15. Universals
    16. 16. Specialities
    17. 17. Alternatives
    18. 18. Peculiarities
    19. 19. Symbols: more than “brutethings”
    20. 20. Symbols: more than “brutethings” “This transformation from ‘brute things’ to social objects is performed mainly by the language that gives reality a social existence.”
    21. 21. Emic versus etic Verstehen
    22. 22. Crestwood Heights: coheringmetaphorsHouse as property House as stageHouse as home House as nursery
    23. 23. Case study: doorsValues shape design choicesDesign choices create symbolsDesign choices shape behaviours
    24. 24. Designed to guidevisitors inside.
    25. 25. Designed to tell peoplethe rules.
    26. 26. Who uses this door?
    27. 27. Designed to be behinda second door.
    28. 28. Designed to not evenbe a door at all.
    29. 29. Designed to beglorious.
    30. 30. Who uses this door?
    31. 31. Who uses this door? Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/m-a-s/5531154544/
    32. 32. What are the moralimplications of designing aself-closing door?
    33. 33. The assignment:study door design as a way ofunderstanding cultural valueshttp://copernicusconsulting.net/culture-coaching-sessions-improve/

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