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Brent Beckley <[log in to unmask]>
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Brent Beckley <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 07:37:01 -0400
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Morgan & Claypool is proud to announce a new title in our series on
Human-Centered Informatics (HCI).  We will be at CHI 2015 and welcome you to
visit the HCI publisher, Diane Cerra in our booth.


An Anthropology of Services: Toward a Practice Approach to Designing
Jeanette Blomberg, IBM Almaden Research Center
Chuck Darrah, San Jose State University
ISBN (Print): 9781608452019
ISBN (eBook): 9781608452026
February 2015, 115 pages


This book explores the possibility for an anthropology of services and
outlines a practice approach to designing services. The reader is taken on a
journey that Blomberg and Darrah have been on for the better part of a
decade from their respective positions helping to establish a services
research group within a large global enterprise and an applied anthropology
master's program at a Silicon Valley university. They delve into the world
of services to understand both how services are being conceptualized today
and the possible benefits that might result from taking an anthropological
view on services and their design. The authors argue that the
anthropological gaze can be useful precisely because it combines attention
to details of everyday life with consideration of the larger milieu in which
those details make sense. Furthermore, it asks us to reflect upon and assess
our own perspectives on that which we hope to understand and change.


Central to their exploration is the question of how to conceptualize and
engage with the world of services given their heterogeneity, the increasing
global importance of the service economy, and the possibilities introduced
for an engaged scholarship on service design. While discourse on services
and service design can imply something distinctively new, the authors point
to parallels with what is known about how humans have engaged with each
other and the material world over millennia. Establishing the ubiquity of
services as a starting point, the authors go on to consider the limits of
design when the boundaries and connections between what can be designed and
what can only be performed are complex and deeply mediated. In this regard
the authors outline a practice approach to designing that acknowledges that
designing involves participating in a social context, that design and use
occur in concert, that people populate a world that has been largely built
by and with others, and that formal models of services are impoverished
representations of human performance.


An Anthropology of Services draws attention to the conceptual and
methodological messiness of service worlds while providing the reader with
strategies for intervening in these worlds for human betterment as complex
and challenging as that may be.


Series: Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informations
Series Editor: John M. Carroll, Penn State University


Use of this book as a course text is encouraged, and the texts may be
downloaded without restriction by members of institutions that have licensed
accessed to the Synthesis Digital Library of Engineering and Computer
Science or after a one-time fee of $20.00 each by members of non-licensed
schools. To find out whether your institution is licensed, visit <
<>> or follow the links above and
attempt to download the PDF. Additional information about Synthesis can be
found through the following links or by contacting me directly.


This book can also be purchased in print from Amazon and other booksellers

 <> Individual subscriptions to
Synthesis are available for just $99.00 per year. This subscription will
provide individuals with unrestricted access to all Synthesis titles:


Available titles and subject areas: 


Information for librarians, including pricing and license:


Please contact  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask] to
request your desk copy


Brent Beckley
Direct Marketing Manager
Morgan & Claypool Publishers


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