FROM ETHICS TO POLITICS: IF DESIGN IS PROBLEM SOLVING, WHAT THEN ARE THE PROBLEMS?
DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Oswald, David
Institution: Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd
The great design movements in design history were, for the most part, guided by utopian, political, or
at least reformist aims. They combined the question of what today is called ‘material culture’ with the
more general question of how we want to live. Today, faced with the global challenge of creating sustainable
economies and societies, design has rediscovered its ethical, social and critical tradition.
However, due to their global nature, today’s problems have reached an unprecedented level of complexity
and inertia. These problems are deeply ingrained into global policies – and the chances to face
them are the highest when employing political means. As a consequence, if design aims to contribute
in these challenging domains, it has to conceive itself as political.