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Title: Contextualising critical design : towards a taxonomy of critical practice in product design
Author: Malpass, Matt
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 311X
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2012
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This study focuses on critical design practice. The research challenges the colloquial understanding of ‘critical design.’ It problamatises, defines and reassesses the concept of ‘critical design’ situating it among other forms of critical design practice. The research reviews the field of activity from a historical perspective. It reviews contemporary activity in contexts of design research and the gallery system to establish domain authorities and theoretical perspectives that inform critical design practice. The research draws from a body of literature relating to design theory and critical design practice to identify several important themes by which to discuss the practice. The research employs a hermeneutic methodology and engages expert ‘critical’ designers through a series of conversational interviews. The interviews are analysed using code to theory methods of inductive qualitative analysis and subjected to hermeneutic analysis that draws on the extensive contextual review. Salient concepts found in the discourse are extracted, theorised and organised to create taxonomy of critical design practice. In the taxonomy, the field of critical design practice is categorised by three types of practice: Associative Design, Speculative Design and Critical Design. These three practices are differentiated by topics addressed in each and further differentiated by the type of Satire, Narrative and Object Rationality used in each practice. The original contribution of this research is a Taxonomy of critical practice in product design, which consists of a written and visual dimension. The taxonomy acts as a discursive tool to chart design activity and it illustrates the diversity in critical design practice beyond the colloquial understanding of ‘critical design’. The taxonomy presents three distinct types of critical design practice; it outlines the design methods used to establish the critical move through design and identifies the contexts where critical design is practiced. It can be used to compare projects, chart designers’ activity over time, illustrate trajectories of practice and identify themes in practice. The taxonomy provides theoretical apparatus to analyse the field. Such analysis contributes towards a discussion on critical design within design studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Design studies ; Industrial/Product Design