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Social Dimensions of Design Research

Gesche Joost; Tom Bieling; Florian Sametinger


Depending on the focus, design research may occasionally seem to be a moving point in the coordinating system between more and less strongly polarized components such as "theory and praxis," "art and technology," "science and technology," or "politics and economy." The related approaches are particularly fascinating when one considers that society is facing a wide range of complex phenomena, which are obviously approachable (and perhaps only approachable) in complex and diverse ways. And design research can actually play an important role in this context. It offers us a number of opportunities, but also a number of challenges to adequately deal with this complexity. In this present article, we will highlight the position of design research, as being deeply entangled in our everyday life, it is therefore always connected to the social sphere. With the cultural construction of normality in mind, we criticize the position that proposes designed conclusions oriented towards the majority as the guiding principle in common design approaches. This article in turn will discuss the value of including the "non-majority" in the design and design research-process.