Balancing Market, State and Civil Society: A New Practice Model for Design

By Keith Owens.

Published by The Design Collection

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

Struggling in the grip of a global financial crisis, many in the world have begun to question the hegemonic belief that the market is the inevitable source of social ordering—economist Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’ — and the surest warrant of human liberty. For the first time in a generation, politicians, policy makers and citizens are challenging the view that a capitalist global order is the rightful destiny of all nations and peoples. As a result, society finds itself at an inflection point from which might emerge a new balance between the market, state and civil society—domains central to modern conceptions of social organization.

Designers traversing a world increasingly dotted with these less settled, more complex economic and political landscapes require alternative models for charting effective, responsible design practice. Frameworks of discernment, questioning, conceptualization and action that emphasize design performance across rather than within domains, encourage connective rather than isolated design intervention, and value balance rather than choice when considering society’s need for liberty, justice and community. This presentation will offer a three-part reflection on one such model.

Keywords: Design Responsibility, Civil Society, Market, Politics, State

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.167-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.289MB).

Prof. Keith Owens

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

Keith Owens is an associate professor teaching in 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. As a design volunteer supporting farm cooperatives in Haiti, Owens operationalizes his activist philosophy. Professor Owens has also taught at Texas Tech University and worked as a design firm owner and director in Dallas and San Francisco.


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