Gemma Petrie

Contributed Articles

In Praise of Theory in Design Research: How Levi-Strauss Redefined Workflow

by BILL SELMAN and GEMMA PETRIE, Mozilla In his 2015 novel, Satin Island, Tom McCarthy’s protagonist (known only as “U”) is a corporate anthropologist working for an outre design research firm whose work embodies all the absurd contradictions of late capitalism. The highly influential firm’s logo is “a giant, crumbling tower.” The visionary owner and boss of U takes pride in telling his clients that he is selling them “fiction” and in talks to Davos-like conferences speaks primarily in Nietzschean aphorisms. Ultimately, McCarthy portrays the role of his protagonist and design researcher as the ideal specimen of the late capitalist job. In one scene, U describes a tactic he used to provide insight for analysis to a well-known client who manufactures jeans: provide a framework for explaining to the client what these crease-types truly and profoundly meant – I stole a concept from the French philosopher Deleuze: for him le pli, or fold, describes the way we swallow the exterior world, invert it, and then flip...



Gemma Petrie

Position Lead User Researcher/Research Manager
Affiliation Mozilla
Bio Gemma Petrie is a Lead User Researcher and Research Manager at Mozilla Firefox. Before joining Mozilla, Gemma worked as a designer and researcher for a variety of organizations ranging from local nonprofits to global corporations. Gemma has a background in nonprofit development, a BA in Philosophy from Reed College, and an MLIS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.
City Chicago
State Illinois
Country United States
Areas of Expertise
Geographic Select all that apply
Topical Community Development
, Innovation, Interaction Design, Management
, Non-profit, Organizational Development
, Personal Computing, Product Design, Product Development, Services Design, 
Social Media
, Technology
, User Experience Design, 
User Interface Design, Web Design, 
Languages Please select all that apply