Ways of World Making: Design anthropological approaches to emerging technologies
Rachel Charlotte Smith
Paper short abstract:
Perspectives on world making from anthropology and design practice can open for new modes of research and engagement into the social, cultural and material processes of designing with and for emerging technologies. The case reports on digital technologies for future educational practices.
Paper long abstract:
From maker technologies in education, to automated vehicles, or assistive technologies and robotics in the home, the rapid advanced of emerging technologies calls for new humanistic modes of research and engagement. Design anthropology's position as a transdisciplinary field gives it a unique position to explore and intervene in the emergent social, cultural and material processes and worlds through social theory, empirical research, and situated interventions and experiments (Gunn et al. 2013; Smith et al. 2016; Akama et al. 2018).
Anthropological approaches to world making can help us explore and understand how technological design is developed, manifested and transformed through specific social, cultural and political practices and imaginations (e.g. Goodman 1978; Suchman 2011; Sneath et al. 2013; Escobar 2018). But more focus is needed on the material engagements and experiments with(in) the design processes. Schön's (1983; 1922) conception of reflective design practice as world making and as a reflective conversation with the materials of a design situation, can help us ground anthropological perspectives in the situated micro-acts of technological imagination and design. Based on research into the potentials of maker technologies in future educational practices, I demonstrate how a focus on situated and collaborative engagements with social, material, and digital design processes allowed the making of new artifacts, meanings and worlds for both students, teachers and researchers. I argue that such approaches can be transferred to other context and more advanced engagements with emerging technologies.
Anthropology and emerging technologies [FAN panel]