Taste and attunement: design culture as world making

Highmore, Ben (2019) Taste and attunement: design culture as world making. In: Julier, Guy and Munch, Anders (eds.) Design culture: objects and approaches. Bloomsbury, London. ISBN 9781474289825 (Accepted)

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (142kB)


This chapter is a speculative attempt to position ‘design culture’ at the centre of our descriptions and understandings of the world. In it I argue that ‘design culture’ allows us to see the world as particular sets of qualities, feelings, and meanings as well as a purposefully fashioned material environment. But rather than claiming that design is at the centre of the world (a claim that, to my mind, would be no less spurious than any other claim for the centrality of one particular phenomenon) I want to more modestly explore what it would mean to position design at the centre. In other words, my interest is in the generative affordance of forms of inquiry that treat design as somehow foundational to how the world seems to us (the qualia of our being in the world). In some ways this centrality is already assumed by the actual term ‘design culture’, which orients the ambition of investigation about design towards considering the world-forming activity of design. ‘Culture’, as a qualification for the word ‘design’, offers significantly different capacities than the word ‘history’ or ‘social’, for instance. At its most limited ‘design culture’ might suggest a form of attention aimed at investigating the practices and values enacted, say, by a particular design studio, in the same way that anthropologists might want to look at practices and values of a group of Trobriand Islanders. At its most extensive, though, ‘design culture’ might well try to attend to any and every aspect of society where tools, technology, clothing and the fashioning of an environment is central.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NC Drawing. Design. Illustration
Depositing User: Ben Highmore
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2018 16:47
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2018 16:47
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/79572

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update