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Adopting Non-Essential Views Of Culture In Design Management

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"In this paper it is proposed that designers should be introduced to and versed in a non-essentialist understanding of culture, as opposed to an understanding of culture as having essential qualities. It is argued that ‘essentialism’ leads to stereotyping of others which leads to ‘normalisation’ as opposed to celebrating and harnessing diversity. The rationale for the importance for designers of a non-essentialist understanding of culture is twofold: Designers are designing with others and they design for others. When designing with others designers should to be skilled in intercultural communication which is informed by processes of ‘representation’, ‘othering’ and ‘identity’. We will use a recently completed international project to examine communication practices of upcoming designers in this project in relation to these three processes. We conclude that although the project provided them with an opportunity to experience working across cultures their intercultural communications generally exhibited essentialist approaches in regard to ‘representation’, ‘othering’ and ‘identity’."


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 18th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2012


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