Taxonomy vs. Typology

October 30, 2016 in uncategorised

Looking at my Research Question and interrogating the actual words that comprises it lead me to consider the difference between a taxonomy and a typology. Both are essentially ways of classifying things.

Taxonomies are classifications that originally stem from biological classification systems, and relate to considerations intrinsic to the biology of a lifeform. They have evoloved beyond this use to be applied to non-biological subjects from design to information systems and languages.

Typologies (generally) are much broader in their associations and how things connect. Typologies usually lack a hierachy and are more centred around how something looks physically and it’s external structural considerations. Archeology, architecture and social sciences all draw from different types.

What is pertinent to my research is how these overlap and remain a point of contention when discuss where something belongs. This itself can become the very difinition of how somebody sees the world and where one idea ends and a new one begins.


A taxonomy looks like this:

reptiles and amphibians:

A typology looks like this:

brecher coal bunkers

Bernd and Hilla Brecher






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