What is Cultural Transformation Theory? What is design, and design thinking? How do these topics connect with concepts of culture and material culture? How are domination and partnership as paradigms of cultural transformation expressed in design? How can design and partnership work together to achieve a partnership society, and what actions does this suggest for the future? This article addresses these questions, identifies key elements of Cultural Transformation Theory, and introduces the concepts of design and design thinking and the aspects of design as product and process. Definitions of culture and material culture that reveal a disconnect with design are discussed. This article makes the case that design and culture are reciprocally connected, and uses specific cross-cultural examples of domination and partnership as manifested in design disciplines of architecture. Current ways in which the emerging field of design thinking incorporates a partnership approach are also discussed. Finally, the article suggests ways in which cultural transformation and design can work synergistically, evolving cultures toward a partnership future while creating design expressions of such a culture.


Cultural transformation, domination, partnership, design, design thinking, architecture, product, process, future practice

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


Issued March 15, 2016. On page 20, the first Eisler reference should read:

Eisler, R. (2013). Human Possibilities: An Integrated Systems Approach. World Futures, The Journal of Global Education, 69:4-6 (pp. 269-289) Pacific Grove, CA: Center for Partnership Studies. Retrieved from: http://www.partnershipway.org/learn-more/articles-by-riane-eisler



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