The Seismographic Design Concept: a disciplinary development

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  • Karen Lisa Salamon
  • Ida Engholm
This article gives an overview of the theoretical development of the design concept through two centuries in Europe and North America. Drawing on the academic disciplines of design history and anthropology, the authors present seminal moments in the theorization of “design”. Historically formative roots of modern design theory and academic design studies are traced back to Enlightenment debates and Romanticist discussions about industrial production, craftsmanship and the role of art in society. The history of modern design theory is described in the metaphorical terms of an unstable line or seismograph, teetering back and forth between Romanticist and Scientist ideological positions. The gradual marginalization of certain understandings of design, and the inclusion of other understandings formerly external to the design concept’s application range are also addressed. The article conclusively argues for a more historically reflective glance on theory’s influence on the moulding of practice from ideology also in the context of design, and presents itself as a step in this self reflective direction.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Number of pages39
Publication statusSubmitted - 1 Nov 2015
EventSeminar om designantropologi: - Københavns Universitet, København, Denmark
Duration: 4 Mar 20154 Mar 2015


ConferenceSeminar om designantropologi
LocationKøbenhavns Universitet

ID: 146252524