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  • 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
  • “In this impassioned call for design for the pluriverse, Arturo Escobar asks how we might translate insights of a relational ontology into politics of transformative change. He turns to the prospects of ‘transition,’ led by autonomous communities and social movements in Latin America and the global South. This remarkable book is a way forward for all who are yearning for the radical remaking of design, as a contribution to decolonizing and remaking worlds.” — Lucy Suchman, author of, Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions

    “For so long, design researchers have been waiting for social researchers to take heed of the ontological politics of designing. Arturo Escobar does so but precisely to clear a space in global consumerist modernism for urgently needed alternatives. A by-product of this thorough and clear book will be the project of decolonizing the discipline and practice of design." — Cameron Tonkinwise, Professor of Design, University of New South Wales Art and Design

    "In this exciting work Arturo Escobar steps out of the familiar territory we associate him with to engage with the cultural study of design. Significantly advancing thinking about societal transition in the context of climate change, Latin American politics, and the ongoing challenges of decoloniality, Designs for the Pluriverse makes a timely and important intervention." — J. K. Gibson-Graham, coeditor of, Manifesto for Living in the Anthropocene

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  • Description

    In Designs for the Pluriverse Arturo Escobar presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design's world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth. Noting that most design—from consumer goods and digital technologies to built environments—currently serves capitalist ends, Escobar argues for the development of an “autonomous design” that eschews commercial and modernizing aims in favor of more collaborative and placed-based approaches. Such design attends to questions of environment, experience, and politics while focusing on the production of human experience based on the radical interdependence of all beings. Mapping autonomous design’s principles to the history of decolonial efforts of indigenous and Afro-descended people in Latin America, Escobar shows how refiguring current design practices could lead to the creation of more just and sustainable social orders.

    About The Author(s)

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