Thing Ethnography: Doing Design Research with Non-Humans

Elisa Giaccardi, Nazli Cila, Chris Speed, Melissa Caldwell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing from a study of everyday home practices from a material objects' perspective, this paper examines the potential that a thing ethnography holds for both design and anthropology. In doing so, the paper challenges anthropocentric assumptions about the world, and opens up ways of understanding relationships among people, objects and use practices that would be difficult to elicit through traditional observations and interviews alone.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS'16
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4031-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventDIS'16 The 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 4 Jun 20168 Jun 2016


ConferenceDIS'16 The 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems


  • Data worlds
  • Internet of things
  • Non-anthropocentrism
  • Thing ethnography
  • Thing perspective
  • Things as co-ethnographers
  • Use practices

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