Products and practices. Selected concepts from science and technology studies and from social theories of consumption and practice

Elizabeth Shove, Matt Watson, Jack Ingram


Design researchers and practitioners are increasingly interested in how designed artefacts shape and are shaped by the contexts in which they are used. Despite a long if selective history of theoretical engagement between design and social science, there has yet to be an effective exchange of ideas on this subject in particular. In this article, we present a selection of concepts drawn from recent debates in science and technology studies and consumption theory. We introduce notions of acquisition; scripting; appropriation; assembly; normalisation and practice with the aim of initiating an inter- disciplinary conversation about how designed artefacts are configured and appropriated and about how they structure the social practices and situations of which they are a part.

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