Reconsidering: The Market, Politics, Civil Society and Design’s Distress

By Keith Owens.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Although not all and certainly not in equal measure, designers feel responsibility for the negative externalities of market capitalism and are rightly distressed over their complicity in material acquisitiveness, brand colonialism, unethical labor practices and unbridled resource exploitation, fretting over their inability to adequately respond to the central question of how to tame the ‘savage market’. This essay will argue that design can find more complete answers to this question when designers acknowledge market capitalism’s near imperviousness to transformative attempts however worthy, admit that reform actions unilaterally undertaken from within its ranks lack the capacity to fully achieve their intended goals, and seek support outside the confines of the discipline.

Keywords: Associationalism, Civil Society, Design, Design Agency, Political Systems, Social Capital, Public Sphere

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.303-314. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.154MB).

Prof. Keith Owens

Assistant Professor, College of Visual Arts and Design, Communication Design, The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA

Keith Owens is an assistant professor teaching at the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. Articles by him addressing the need for increased design responsibility have appeared in the International Journal of the Humanities, Industry and Education, Design Philosophy Papers, Design Philosophy Politics and Visual Communications Quarterly. Most recently as a design volunteer in Haiti, Owens has been engaged in socially focused design research into practice.


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