Teaching Everything in Relationship: Integrating Social Sciences and Design in Teaching and Professional Practice

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Alvise Mattozzi


The availability of social sciences courses in design schools does not automatically entail the integration of social scienc­es in design teaching. In order to achieve such integration, social sciences cannot be relegated to the task of providing information about the context in which design artifacts circulate. This contextual view of the social sciences is based on a ’regional topology’ of the social, which must be replaced by a ’network topology’ of the social, already enacted within design practice. Through a ’network topology’, the description of the relations to which artifacts take part emerges as the ground for collaboration between design and social sciences. Such ground for collaboration is key also for teaching social sciences in design schools. The introduction of two examples of assignments that consider the common ground of descrip­tion concludes the article.


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Mattozzi, A. (2018). Teaching Everything in Relationship: Integrating Social Sciences and Design in Teaching and Professional Practice. Diseña, (12), 104–125. https://doi.org/10.7764/disena.12.104-125
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Author Biography

Alvise Mattozzi, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

B.A. and Master in Communication Studies, University of Siena. Master in Multimedia, University of Florence. Ph.D. in Semiotics, University of Bologna. Research Fellow in Sociology of Culture and Communication at the Faculty of Design and Art, Free Univer­sity of Bozen-Bolzano. He works at the crossroad of design studies and STS, by using semiotics as a descriptive methodology in order to account for the social role of artifacts. He is co-founder of the Master in Eco-Social Design of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. Recent publications include: ‘Semiotics’ Razor. Or, How to tell Product’s Signification Apart from Product’s Communication’ (MEI – Médiation et information, N° 40) and ‘The Semiotics of Configurations for the Immanent Design of Interactive Computational Systems’ (with F. Cabitza, Journal of Visual Language & Computing vol. 40). He is a member of the Editorial Board of Tecnosci­enza – Italian Journal of Science and Technology Studies.