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The road to cooptation is paved with good intentions: an anarchafeminist critique on “empowering” design

conference contribution
posted on 2024-02-02, 12:53 authored by Val VolpiVal Volpi, Ksenija KuzminaKsenija Kuzmina, Val MitchellVal Mitchell, Stuart CockbillStuart Cockbill

This theoretical paper critically examines the relationship between design for social innovation and the concept of empowerment. It questions to what extent current empowerment discourses in design genuinely amplify marginalized voices or rather reinforce and hide existing structural inequalities. With the aim of unveiling the emptiness of signifiers such as empowerment -much like the contested concept of social innovation, this contribution aims to encourage a critical reflection on power dynamics through an anarchafeminist lens. Rather than striving for definite answers, this lens is an open and dynamic invitation to scholars and practitioners to continue exploring (self)critical spaces and interrogate design for social innovation to reveal and confront the complexities, oversights, and potential challenges of contemporary design paradigms.

History

School

  • Design and Creative Arts

Department

  • Design

Published in

Proceedings of DRS

Source

DRS2024

Publisher

Design Research Society

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Acceptance date

2024-01-30

Language

  • en

Location

Boston, MA, USA

Event dates

24th June 2024 - 28th June 2024

Depositor

Dr Ksenija Kuzmina. Deposit date: 1 November 2023

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