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12 MARCH 2011

Design knowledge or design, communication and culture?

"The problem with any debate over design is that the intellectual resources with which the debate is typically engaged are themselves located within the field, and the competing definitions of design is the terrain over which struggles are fought and the resources used in those struggles. Each actor (or in this case, each designer) engages in these struggles and does so from a position within the field; each has a situated viewpoint and this viewpoint shapes the analysis of the field (Bourdieu, 1983). Thus, there is a need to be able to view the field afresh, from a perspective that is not associated with any specific position within the field but rather objectifies the field. This is not to argue for an 'ultimate–truth' perspective, but rather to suggest that, in order to be able to analyse the debates, one needs specific kinds of tools. Designers work with knowledge to 'do' design. When analysing the field of design the object of study has now shifted: it is not the design object but knowledge itself as an object that is being studied. For engineering a bridge, engineering knowledge is valuable; for designing a house, architectural knowledge is valuable. For analysing knowledge, a theory of knowledge itself is valuable."

(Lucila Carvalho, Andy Dong & Karl Maton, 2009, p.485)

Fig.1 Legitimation codes of specialisation Source: Maton (2007:97)

2). Carvalho, L., Dong, A. & Maton, K. (2009) 'Legitimating design: A sociology of knowledge account of the field', Design Studies 30(5): 483–502.
[An interesting yet epistemologically flawed effort. The paper seems to stumble through its attempt to occupy a neutral perspective on design knowledge. In doing so falls into the familiar trap of positioning 'creativity' and 'originality' against 'critical thinking' and 'analysis'. It attempts to advance a thesis based on the romantic notion of the individual whose process of design appears to operate independently from culture and any effort to communicate with an audience.] ––>

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TAGS

Andy Dong • architecturearchitecture designBasil Bernsteincodes of specialisationcreativity • critical realism • cultural practicescultural studiesculture medium • design and communication • design and culture • design culturesdesign knowledgedesign studiesdiffering groundsdigital mediadigital media designdisciplinary knowledgeDonald Schon • elite code • embodiment of knowledgeempirical researchenculturationengineeringengineering design • epistemic relation • fashion design • Gestaltungsgeist • habitusindividualisminterdisciplinarity • internalised codes • intersubjective • Jacob Grimm • Judith Dijkhuis • Karl Maton • Karl PopperKees Dorst • knower • knower code • knowledge • knowledge code • languages of legitimation • LCT • legitimacylegitimate knowledge • Legitimation Code Theory • legitimation codes • Lucila Carvalho • Michel FoucaultPierre Bourdieu • post-disciplinarity • post-disciplinepragmatismqualitativequalitative researchqualitative studyrealisation rulesrecognition rules • relativist code • rules • rules of the game • social practices • social relation • sociologyspecialisation • Sprachgeist

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JANUARY 2011

New Directions in Interdisciplinarity: Broad, Deep, and Critical

"Before interdisciplinarity in either the disciplinary producing or disciplinary–circumscribing senses could manifest itself, disciplinarity itself had to take on its peculiarly modern form. Any assessment of interdisciplinarity – multi – and trans–, noncritical and critical– will benefit from an appreciation of this background.

Prior to the modern period, learning exhibited a kind of unity that might be called predisciplinary. Aristotle, it is true, introduced distinctions between logic, physics, and ethics, but these were never of a kind to raise the possibility of cross–disciplinary formations such as 'physical ethics.' During the Middle Ages, the division of the artes liberales into grammar, rhetoric, dialectic (the trivium), arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (the quadrivium) ensured that the education of 'free men' included all the knowledge and skills needed to exercise their social roles. Insofar as it existed, disciplinary specialization was present more in the 'servile arts' of artisans and tradesmen. Not even teachers of the liberal arts became specialists in their different branches, because the idea of, for example, possessing arithmetic without grammar would have been considered a deformation of the mind. In the monastery schools, the unfettered pursuit of knowledge was viewed skeptically, criticized as curiositas, and therefore subject to disciplinization in a premodern behavioral sense. Only at the end of the Middle Ages, as the infinite pursuit of disciplinary knowledge took on the character of a spiritual activity, would Renaissance men become necessary to cross boundaries and synthesize diverse areas of learning."

(Robert Frodeman and Carl Mitcham, 2007, p.508)

[1][2] Frodeman, R. and C. Mitcham (2007). "New Directions in Interdisciplinarity: Broad, Deep, and Critical." Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 27(6).

TAGS

Aristotlearithmetic • artes liberales • artisanastronomy • cross boundaries • cross-disciplinary • curiositas • dialecticdisciplinary knowledgedisciplinary specialisationdisciplinesdiscursive fielddivisionethicsEuropean Renaissance • free men • geometrygrammarinterdisciplinarityknowledgeknowledge integrationlearningliberal artslogicmiddle agesModern • modern period • monastery schools • multidisciplinaritymusicorderingphysics • predisciplinary • premodernpursuit of knowledgeQuadriviumrhetoricservile artsskillsocial construction of knowledgesocial rolesspecialisation • spiritual activity • synthesis • tradesmen • transdisciplinarityTrivium • unity

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 MARCH 2009

Seymour warns of split in profession

"Seymourpowell co–founder Richard Seymour is warning that an increasing level of specialisation is splitting design into two different professions. He suggests that a polarisation will lead to more generalist solution providers – what he calls 'polymath interpolators' – on the one hand, and specialist executors on the other."

(Design Week, 7 September 2006)

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TAGS

2006bifurcationdesign knowledge • design pipeline • design practitionersdesign professionalsdesign specialistdesign teamsDesign Weekdesign workdisciplinary specialisationexpertise • generalism • generalistimprovisationinventorknowledge integrationmulti-skilled creatorsmultidisciplinarity • polarisation • polymath • polymath interpolator • Richard Seymour • Seymourpowell (consultancy) • solution providers • solution-spacespecialisation • specialists • strategic thinkingthinking stylestransdisciplinarityworking practices

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 SEPTEMBER 2005

Industrialisation: Pin Making and the Division of Labour

"To take an example, therefore, from a very trifling manufacture but one in which the division of labour has been very often taken notice of, the trade of the pin–maker; a workman not educated to this business (which the division of labour has rendered a distinct trade), nor acquainted with the use of the machinery employed in it (to the invention of which the same division of labour has probably given occasion), could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost industry make one pin in a day, and certainly could not make twenty. But in the way in which this business is now carried on, not only the whole work is a peculiar trade, but it is divided into a number of branches, of which the greater part are likewise peculiar trades. One man draws out the wire, another straightens it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head: to make the head requires two or three distinct operations to put it on, is a peculiar business, to whiten the pins another; it is even a trade by itself to put them into paper; and the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen distinct operations, which, in some manufactories, are all performed by distinct hands, though in others the same man will sometimes perform two or three of them. I have seen a small manufactory of this kind where ten men only were employed, and where some of them consequently performed two or three distinct operations. But though they were very poor, and therefore but indifferently accommodated with the necessary machinery, they could, when they exerted themselves, make among them about twelve pounds of pins in a day. There are in a pound upward of four thousand pins of a middling size. Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upward of forty–eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making a tenth part of forty–eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day. But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day; that is, certainly not the two hundred and fortieth, perhaps not the four thousand eight hundredth part of what they are at present capable of performing, in consequence of proper division and combination of their different operations."

(Adam Smith, 1776)

Fig.1 Title: "Epinglier, Plate II (Pin Making)", Engraver: Defehrt, Designer: Goussier, Date: 1762, Medium: Original Engraving, Art of the Print (Defehrt – Diderot's Encyclopedie), [http://www.artoftheprint.com/artistpages/defehrt_epinglier_pl2.htm].

[Smith's theory of specialisation has come to dominate Western economic theory in the 200 years since it was first published.]

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TAGS

177618th centuryAdam Smithbusinessdivision of labourindustrialisationindustrymanufactories • manufacture • manufacturingmass productionpin • pin-maker • servile artsskillspecialisationtraditional process • workman
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