Pedro Álvarez Caselli ― Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, School of Design |

Hugo Palmarola ― Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, School of Design |

Nicole Cristi ― University College London, M Phil/PhD Student, Anthropology / Material Culture |

New Submission Deadline: September 15, 2020


The history of Design and the history of techniques and technology (1) are intertwined, since technical activities, technical objects and technical systems are fundamental for the designer’s practice, either as a result of thereof or in their creative or pro­ductive processes. The studies that link them have generated a growing body of research and publi­cations revealing the diversity and richness of this interdisciplinary crossroads frequented by other fields of knowledge, such as science and technology studies (STS), research on material culture, gender studies and the most recent studies on the history of innovation.

In this context, we consider that the history of Design can contribute to the promotion of new perspectives in technology that include, for exam­ple, the dimension of the use of technical objects and the human factor involved in its design, as a key aspect of the discipline of Design materialized in the notion of user. Focusing on the notions of use/user involved in technology entails, in turn, analyzing local strategies and intentions, in order to overcome the creation of disaffected narratives of the sociotechnical and territorial frameworks where its action is located. As pointed out by David Edgerton (2006), this option allows for an inter­esting historiographical perspective based on the use of technology, which questions the conception of which have been the most transcendent tech­nologies. Consequently, this new approach is that “we shift attention from the new to the old, the big to the small, the spectacular to the mundane, the masculine to the feminine, the rich to the poor” (Edgerton, 2006, p. 14).

The dialogue between approaches that involve aspects of the Design discipline (such as the category of use/user), as well as views from other fields, allows us to fashion non-binary conceptions of the phenomenon of technology that, instead of being located in cultural or technological deter­minism, explore the network of relations between culture and technique, integrating decolonial, systemic and ontological views, and allowing us to continue expanding its understanding, and consequently, the frameworks that define its future actions.

The purpose of this invitation is to dissem­inate the uniqueness of the cases of study relevant to the topic at hand: Design, its history and its imbrications with technique and technology. A historiographic approach that considers a larger sociotechnical framework made up of multiple nodes, and that includes the analysis of local strate­gies and intentions, allowing us to rethink the his­tory of Design and its connection with technology. Specifically, this edition of Diseña seeks to answer important historiographic questions, such as those referring to the uses and adaptations of certain technologies; who are the actors that assimilate these processes of technological change; how they affect the particularities of each geographical and cultural environment; how they affect the practice of the designer; and what consequences these prac­tices have on the creative and productive processes, among other questions.

These concerns aim to explore an approach that is necessary for the historiography of design, one that welcomes, among other things, the grow­ing technological changes in which the practice of the designer is immersed. In this regard, we look forward to receiving contributions that account for the continuous technical development that has historically accompanied the disciplinary practice, so as to promote critical approaches of techniques and technologies from the history of Design, with a view to examining their agencies and interrela­tions.


(1) We are using the terms ‘technology’ and ‘technologies’ as a contemporary category to refer technical activities, technical objects, and technical systems ‒ or groups of them. Even though the term is epistemologically related to the study thereof (as noted by Coupaye, 2009, Sigaut, 1985; Simondon, 1958), we are following its vernacular use, which is also being used in some theoretical works.



COUPAYE, L. (2009). What’s the matter with technology? Long (and short) yams, materialization and technology in Nyamikum village, Maprik district, Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 20(1), 93-111.

EDGERTON, D. (2006). The Shock of the Old. Technology and Global History since 1900. London, England: Profile.

SIGAUT, F. (1985). More (and enough) on technology! History and Technology, 2(2), 115-132.

SIMONDON, G. (1958/2017). On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects. Minneapolis, MN: Univocal Publishing.


This edition will be published in January 2021. Interested authors should send their manuscripts through no later than September 15, 2020. Potential revisions and modifications after the review process will be carried out during October 2020.

The manuscripts must contain 3,500 - 4,000 words. Authors should provide an abstract (140 words max.) and five keywords, as well as a brief biography (150 words.) Citations and references must follow the APA style.

Please read the instructions for authors.