Annelise de Jong and Ramia Mazé (2010) 'Cultures of Sustainability: "Ways of doing" cooking', in Proceedings of the ERSCP-EMSU Conference (Delft, The Netherlands, Oct).

"In our research, we have been expanding our conceptual and methodological frames of reference as designers, in order to explore the complexity of factors involved in environmental sustainability and the consequent challenges posed for design research. In this paper, we discuss some of these issues in user-centered and sustainable design, drawing out and developing relations to concepts from other fields of study, such as the sociology of consumption and material culture. In order to better understand the role that (sustainable) design products might play within people's everyday lives and lifestyles, we interpret and discuss notions of 'socio-cultural practices' of consumption and frame an approach to studying people's 'ways of doing' with artifacts. We point to two examples from our previous research on designing for energy awareness and for sustainable bathing practices. A current study is presented in depth, in which families and singles, resident in The Netherlands but originating from different countries, have been observed and interviewed during preparation of a meal, eating and clearing up afterwards. Through studying and reflecting on the different 'ways of doing' cooking, we gained insights into how cooking and a range of associated practices and artifacts are deeply embedded in traditions, meanings and aspirations. Issues of environmental consumption, such as water, energy and waste, are at stake in such design research but, as we argue, so is attention and sensitivity to how these are interwoven in meaningful socio-cultural practices. The setup and findings are presented, as a point of departure for raising conceptual and methodological questions to be developed in future work." (abstract)

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