Envisioning ‘anthropology through design’: A design interventionist approach to generate anthropological knowledge

Abhigyan Singh*, Natalia Romero Herrera, Hylke W. van Dijk, David V. Keyson, Alex T. Strating

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


The literature on Design Anthropology (DA) is skewed towards discussion exploring anthropology's potential for design. In contrast, discourse on how design can contribute to anthropology is somewhat limited. This article proposes an ‘Anthropology through Design’ (AtD) approach by reflecting on a study on the emergent phenomenon of ‘energy exchange’. The AtD approach aims to generate anthropological knowledge of an emergent sociocultural phenomenon through the use of a design intervention. This article describes four intertwined tracks—Framing, Design Intervening, Ethnographic Particular Understanding, and Anthropological General Understanding—of our AtD process. The proposed AtD approach takes a strategic step in relocating ‘design’ from being an object of anthropology to becoming an instrument for doing anthropology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101014
Number of pages38
JournalDesign Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • design anthropology
  • research methods
  • social design
  • sustainable design
  • user centred design


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