ERIC Number: ED219290
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jan
Reference Count: 0
Professional Culture: The Boundary Between Theory and Practice in Design. Revised Draft.
Low, Setha M.
This paper describes two research projects in the anthropology of landscape architecture design which show that "professional culture" restrictions often prevent anthropologists from putting their theories into practice. The first research project grew out of the author's assumption that landscape architecture students were not producing socially relevant designs because the information they had about the users was incorrect or inaccurate. The author analyzed the processes used by architecture students who had to define for the residents of a local urban neighborhood how an abandoned park could be revitalized to meet their needs. The students did not produce designs for a park that the community would like. The reason was not inadequate data, however, but the professionalization of the student. The qualitative methods of anthropology created a cultural description of what the community desired. The students, however, used books of landscape requirements and asked their faculty for assistance in developing their design. In the second research project the author did a content analysis of the journal "Landscape Architecture" to determine the dimensions of professional culture as a barrier to the integration of theory and practice. Journals from every fifth year from 1910 to the present were evaluated. The data did not describe a linear development of the field as expected. Instead the author found a congruence and interlocking of macro-societal processes and the development of the landscape architecture profession. The author concludes that as anthropologists move toward an increasingly active role among the applied social sciences, they must look for a metalevel of analysis that will aid them in their role as social and cultural translators. (RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Theory into Action
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Los Angeles, CA, December 2-6, 1981).