Abstract

The paper is a meta-discursive contribution to the discussion of how design can be understood as a medium of meaning formation and the questioning of meaning. Further, the paper makes a plea for the role of the humanities in formulating relevant questions in design through a conceptualization of the nature and scope of design. Three fundamental approaches to understanding design from the perspective of the humanities will be proposed: 1) The question of agency in design, i.e. what the role and agency of design can be conceived as in human life, which can be addressed in the historical perspective of design history, 2) the question of context in and of design, i.e. which contexts give meaning to design, a question that calls for interpretive models of cultural analysis of the circuit of design that acknowledge the phases and aspects of production, mediation and consumption, and 3) the question of meaning constituents in design, where the paper points to design philosophy as a framework for interests in aesthetic, ontological and phenomenological concerns in design. In the methodology of the paper, approaches from the humanities offer frameworks for understanding the role and nature of design in terms of meaning formulation and cultural contexts and, thus, for contesting the what, how and why of design.

Keywords:

The humanities, cultural context, design history, design philosophy, meaning constituents

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Agency, Context and Meaning: The Humanities and Design

The paper is a meta-discursive contribution to the discussion of how design can be understood as a medium of meaning formation and the questioning of meaning. Further, the paper makes a plea for the role of the humanities in formulating relevant questions in design through a conceptualization of the nature and scope of design. Three fundamental approaches to understanding design from the perspective of the humanities will be proposed: 1) The question of agency in design, i.e. what the role and agency of design can be conceived as in human life, which can be addressed in the historical perspective of design history, 2) the question of context in and of design, i.e. which contexts give meaning to design, a question that calls for interpretive models of cultural analysis of the circuit of design that acknowledge the phases and aspects of production, mediation and consumption, and 3) the question of meaning constituents in design, where the paper points to design philosophy as a framework for interests in aesthetic, ontological and phenomenological concerns in design. In the methodology of the paper, approaches from the humanities offer frameworks for understanding the role and nature of design in terms of meaning formulation and cultural contexts and, thus, for contesting the what, how and why of design.

 

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