Theorizing things: Status, problems and benefits of the critical interpretation of objects

Prasad Boradkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Things occupy significant portions of physical and symbolic space in our daily lives and yet their appearance in scholarly discourse is either infrequent or scattered across academic departments. Disciplines and areas of study such as industrial design, anthropology, material culture studies, engineering, philosophy, as well as media and cultural studies, do routinely examine, analyse and debate the significance of material objects, but the symbolic meanings and values ascribed to them vary widely within these branches of learning. Design studies, which has traditionally regarded objects in formal rather than social terms, can benefit by expanding its discourse to include a more socially- and culturally- rooted understanding of objects. This knowledge will serve to inform not only design studies but also other disciplines about the role of design in fashioning objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages13
JournalDesign Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006


  • Culture of objects
  • Design theory
  • Material culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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