DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Blaasvlaer, Linda; Gulden, Tore
Series: E&PDE
Institution: The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration
Section: The effect that design and engineering have on global co-habitation
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.112
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


A typical approach when designing for social service functioning in European and Norwegian contexts is to emphasize on what does not function. That is, one does not ask for reasons for conforming or agreeable behavior to exist, rather it is the divergent behavior that is studied (Luhmann, Wiik, & Bakken, 2013. p140). A consequence of such a perspective may produce research design and developing projects that seek to understand and describe phenomena like alienation, vulnerability, and feelings of malfunctioning. That is, such studies aim to describe relations rather than differences (Luhmann, Wiik, & Bakken, 2013.p.13). Differences can be understood as relations, difference in Luhmann's understanding however, explains how relational descriptions are always logical and causal and thus lack the descriptions of the paradoxes that produce the agreeable functioning. Design based on causality may lead to the implementations of specific plans, while designing that builds on understanding societal functioning as something that can emerge out of what seems paradoxical may lead to the design of a direction for a system. In this article we will discuss how design processes that seek to implement a plan may differ from the processes that aim to initiate a direction (Mead. 1974), in the context of public services. We will describe these dimensions by the existing descriptions and exemplify their differences in functioning by the notions of maintenance and value of care (Johar. 2021). These dimensions will further be discussed in relation to how the functioning they create influence democracy by the behavior they produce.

Keywords: Method development, systemic design, cybernetic, systems thinking, sustainable welfare system


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