theory and method


In the discussion about what theory can do for research, I would like to propose – as I have done in my phd thesis – an increased attention to “theorizing through practice”. Theory is not productively understood as the opposite of practice, I think. Consequently there are more productive ways to think about theory than as a pool of established knowledge that can be applied to explain particular practices…

“theorizing through practice” is expressive of a willingness to experiment with theorizing in the projects. -Not with the intention of creating grand theories, but in order to include the activity of theory building as an essential part of design anthropological practice. I try to position the theoretical engagement very close to the project activities.

The design anthropological encounters have themselves been occasions for theorizing. The ideas about “Performative events” and “Playful Otherness”, for example, are developed in a dialogical process between project encounters and established theories from Anthropology and the Performing Arts. In turn, they contribute productively to shaping new design interventions. And I hope that some of the presented ideas will travel into other contexts as more abstract knowledge.

As promised a link to a report with “canned theory” for innovation:



One Response to “theory and method”

  1. brendon29 Says:

    In relation to the discussion about theory and diagrams, Hugh Dubberly from Dubberly Design Office initiated a flikr site titled: Great diagrams in Anthropology, Linguistics & Social Theory

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