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In pursuit of the voices within social design discourse.

Bugali, Hilal; Fairburn, Susan Marie; Halsall, Robert


Hilal Bugali

Susan Marie Fairburn

Robert Halsall


Design has expanded its scope towards social change and innovation - this is observed to a great extent in the UK in parallel with the 'Big Society', but is happening globally as well. The existing literature concentrates on practices, approaches and outcomes, with a desire to understand the implementation and the impact of these social 'design interventions'. Consequently, what is informing or may inform this practice seems less evident. This paper aims to raise awareness towards the presuppositions in design practice and research, and proposes the application of Foucauldian discourse theory to uncover and challenge any presuppositions for a more legitimate conduct. The underlying research forms part of a doctoral study that seeks to examine the role of design in society and aims to accommodate the ongoing discussions around the agency of design. The work-in-progress involves an investigation of the three parts of 'social design dispositive', based on J{uml}ager and Maier's (2016) framework, not only to open up new debates in academic design research, but also to provide design practitioners a way to reflect on their work, and ultimately to inform their decision-making process by reinforcing their theoretical foundations.

Start Date Nov 21, 2016
Publication Date Nov 22, 2016
Publisher Royal College of Art
Pages 163-173
Institution Citation BUGALI, H., FAIRBURN, S. and HALSALL, R. 2016. In pursuit of the voices within social design discourse. In Golchehr, S. (ed.) Proceedings of Training art and design researchers for participation in public space (TRADERS): mediations; art and design agency and participation in public space, 21-22 Nov 2016, London, UK. London: TRADERS [online], pages 163-173. Available from:
Keywords Social design; Discourse; Dispositive; Foucault; Political
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