Social science, design and everyday life: Refiguring showering through anthropological ethnography

Sarah Pink, Kerstin Leder Mackley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we examine the relationship between social science theory, methodology and design through a comparison of two increasingly popular paradigms. We investigate how social practice theory and phenomenological anthropology frame approaches to social research and co-design. Through the example of design research related to showering, we compare applications of sociological theory with a visual-sensory anthropological ethnography approach. We propose that focusing away from the practice of showering towards the elements of the everyday from which uses of showering are emergent and contingent offers a closer understanding of where to situate co-design interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-292
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Design Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Design anthropology
  • Everyday life
  • Improvisation
  • Showering
  • Social practice theory
  • Visual-sensory ethnography

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