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Designs for the Pluriverse


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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
I. Design for the Real World: But Which "World"? What "Design"? What "Real"?
1. Out of the Studio and into the Flow of Socionatural Life 25
2. Elements for a Cultural Studies of Design 49
II. The Ontological Reorientation of Design
3. In the Background of Our Culture: Rationalism, Ontological Dualism, and Relationality 79
4. An Outline of Ontological Design 105
III. Designs for the Pluriverse
5. Design for Transitions 137
6. Autonomous Design and the Politics of Relationality and the Communal 165
Conclusion 202
Notes 229
References 259
Index 281

About the Author

Arturo Escobar is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


"Escobar's literature review and theoretical discussion stand out. Some of the ground he covers includes critical design studies, ethnographic approaches to design, participatory design, and decolonized design. Anthropology has a lot to offer design, Escobar argues, because we study the interplay of materiality, meaning, and practice. . . . Escobar's discussion is built on a foundation of work emanating from a panopoly of Latin American scholars, all of whom appear to be fascinating in their own rights. . . . Through Escobar I felt like I was glimpsing the depth and breadth of that body of literature for the first time." -- Matt Thompson * Anthrodendum *
"Designs for the Pluriverse is a heavy-hitting theoretical framework with potential to inform the practice of the design scholar or professional in any field, from planning or architecture to product design, engineering, and beyond. The work makes sense of generations of decolonial scholarship, pushing the reader towards understanding their design work as more relational, long-term-oriented, and transformative than previously assumed." -- Darien Williams * Carolina Planning Journal *

"I can emphatically state that Designs for the Pluriverse is a superb and welcome addition both to the expanding literature on design in anthropology, and to design theory more broadly. . . . Indeed, there are so many ways to read this book that almost anyone who picks it up will find something to think with."

-- Keith M. Murphy * Anthropological Quarterly *

"Designs for the Pluriverse is an excellent text for design studies scholars who are interested in exploring methodologies and theories of collective existence and creation, intertwining a series of case studies that support autonomous design with the theories to challenge modernist anthropocentrism. Together, they provide a strong foundation for readers to continue pursuing how to decolonize the world by redesigning the human being and designing the pluriverse, a world in which many worlds fit."

-- Juan Carlos Rodriguez Rivera * Design and Culture *

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