Networks of Design maps a new methodological territory in design studies, conceived as a field of interdisciplinary inquiry and practice informed by a range of responses to actor network theory. It brings together a rich body of current work by researchers in the social sciences, technology, material culture, cultural geography, information technology, and systems design, and design theory and history.
This collection will be invaluable to students and researchers in many areas of design studies and to design practitioners receptive to new and challenging notions of what constitutes the design process.
Over ninety essays are thematically organised to address five aspects of the expanded notions of mediation, agency, and collaboration posited by network theory: Ideas, Things, Technology, Texts, and People. The collection also includes an important new essay on rethinking the concept of design by Bruno Latour, one of the most influential figures in the philosophy and sociology of science and technology and a pioneer of actor network theory, and essays deriving from forum discussions involving designers and designer-makers responsive to actor network theory.
Rather than an anthology of previously-published essays, Networks of Design presents work in progress on design theory and its applications. It is the outcome of a live and vigorous debate on the possibilities and actualities offered by actor network led conceptualisations of the relationships and processes constituting design. All the essays, many collaborative, derive from papers presented at the international conference of the Design History Society held at University College Falmouth, UK in the Autumn of 2008.