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Different presents in the making

Anusas, Michael and Harkness, Rachel (2016) Different presents in the making. In: Design Anthropological Futures. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, London. ISBN 9781474280600

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Abstract

This article seeks to challenge aspects of anthropology and design that curtail their potential to be significant agents of social, material and ecological change for the better. In doing so we also seek to open up the possibility for the anthropological imagination to play a greater role in the shaping of the world; we are critical of anthropology where the discipline tends not to build upon observations of the world and keeps itself at an arm’s length from the practical formation of future environments and things. Addressing design, we critique practices that produce and proliferate material things largely ignorant of the extended dynamics of time, materials and ecology. Whilst we acknowledge that these versions of the disciplines are to some extent stereotypes and therefore do not reflect their full scope, we still make the case that there is need for a radical reformulation of how materials, time and ecology are considered in anthropologically-informed processes of design and making.