Drawing Things, Together: ANT in Design Processes

Valde Sandberg Christensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis takes its outset in the research question: How can ANT¬based analysis be a way for non¬designers to understand and contribute to design practice? The thesis is founded mainly in actor¬network theory (ANT) and design theory. The thesis derives its epistemological and methodological approach from ANT. The overall principle for both is that the thesis should be made accountable to the reality they represent. In the thesis, an empirical account containing five episodes is presented as the result of observations which took place in the course ‘designing business IT’ at CBS. The thesis conducts a textual analysis of the empirical account with a basis in ANT. The analysis has three major outtakes: that the materials in the design situation influences its outcome; that formats work as framing devices and that an actor I have named the metaphysical teacher represents the teacher but is embodied by diverse group members. Both formats and the metaphysical teacher act with distributed agency. The main analysis is concluded with a description of the role of the human participants in design practise. Here, it is proposed that non¬designers should recognise materials, formats and the metaphysical teacher and apply the principle of accountability to them. In the epilogue it becomes clear that the body plays a role in decision making in design, and that the metaphysical teacher can be critiqued with feminist theory. Furthermore, the epilogue corroborates that ANT can indeed be a way for non¬designers to understand design. The discussion poses a critique of the methodological approach to the observations on the background that parts of the ontology could not have been observed with the approach applied in the thesis. The practical implications for stagers of design regard their role in the distributed agency of a design situation. The theoretical implications of the thesis are that the body has a place in design, that design situations are distributed agencies and that ANT analysis of micro¬situations in design requires a certain methodology.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages94
SupervisorsMads Bødker