Tricky Design: The Ethics of Things

Tricky Design: The Ethics of Things

Tricky Design: The Ethics of Things

Tricky Design: The Ethics of Things


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Tricky Design responds to the burgeoning of scholarly interest in the cultural meanings of objects, by addressing the moral complexity of certain designed objects and systems.

The volume brings together leading international designers, scholars and critics to explore some of the ways in which the practice of design and its outcomes can have a dark side, even when the intention is to design for the public good. Considering a range of designed objects and relationships, including guns, eyewear, assisted suicide kits, anti-rape devices, passports and prisons, the contributors offer a view of design as both progressive and problematic, able to propose new material and human relationships, yet also constrained by social norms and ideology.

This contradictory, tricky quality of design is explored in the editors' introduction, which positions the objects, systems, services and 'things' discussed in the book in relation to the idea of the trickster that occurs in anthropological literature, as well as in classical thought, discussing design interventions that have positive and negative ethical consequences. These will include objects, both material and 'immaterial', systems with both local and global scope, and also different processes of designing.

This important new volume brings a fresh perspective to the complex nature of 'things', and makes an original contribution to debates in design ethics, design philosophy and material culture.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781350143050
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 01/09/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 6.46(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

Tom Fisher is Professor in the School of Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University, UK.

Lorraine Gamman is Professor of Design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, UK.

Table of Contents

Foreword – Ezio Manzini - stc
Introduction – Design's tricky ethics, Tom Fisher and Lorraine Gamman

Section One, Tricky Thinging
Chapter 1: Civilian and Military: Design across an ethical horizon, Tom Fisher
Chapter 2: Designers and Brokers of the Mobility Regime, Mahmoud Kesharvarz
Chapter 3: Trickery in Design: Cooptation, Subversion and Politics Eduardo Staszowski
Chapter 4: Guns and morality: Mediation, agency and responsibility, Tim Dant
Chapter 5: A Guide to Design's Alienation Tricks including 'Moral Affordances', Cameron Tonkinwise

Section Two: Tricky Processes, Tricky Principles
Chapter 6: Designer/Shapeshifter: A de-colonial redirection for Speculative and Critical Design, Luiza Prado de O. Martins; Pedro J. S. Vieira de Oliveira
Chapter 7: Making “safety,” making freedom: design and contested futures, Shana Agid
Chapter 8: The nature of 'obligation' in doing design with communities: participation, politics and care, Ann Light and Yoko Akama

Section Three: Tricky Policy
Chapter 9: Designing Policy Objects: designer as anti-hero, Lucy Kimbell
Chapter 10: Tricky like a Leprachaun – navigating the paradoxes of public service innovation, Adam Thorpe
Chapter 11: Understanding design against suicide and design for assisted sucicide and euthanasia – why design for death is tricky, Lorraine Gamman & Pras Gunasekera
Chapter 12: The quest for purity, "Clean" Design and a new ethics of “dirty design, Jeremy Kidwell

Conclusion – Tom Fisher – Lorraine Gamman
Afterword – title tba, Clive Dilnot

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