Emerging Concepts of Democracy in Design in the 20th Century

By Cigdem Kaya.

Published by The Design Collection

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

This paper presents an assessment of the literature on design for democracy in the 20th and early 21 st century. Seeking democracy while designing has been shaped by various political and sociological developments such as the internet, globalization and mass immigration. As a response to these radical changes in daily life, some designers developed low cost products for disadvantaged people as in 100 USD laptop project by Behar, while some designers focused on locality and sought local solutions for local problems as in EMUDE (Emerging Users Demands for Sustainable Solutions) of Politecnico di Milano. In other words, among many approaches, some approaches aim to serve the disadvantaged via traditional production while some are critical of the necessity of making more and more products.In this review, emerging sociological, political and technological phenomena will historically map simultaneously emerging design reactions in the 20th and early 21st century by discussing examples from Papanek to Pro-Am Revolution and their relationships with ‘world issues’ in a historical continuum.

Keywords: Democracy, Social Responsibility, Activism, Politics

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 583.896KB).

Cigdem Kaya

Researcher, Industrial Product Design, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

Born and raised in Istanbul, Kaya received MFA in New Genres from San Francisco Art Institute, BSc in Industrial Design from Istanbul Technical University (ITU) where she is also a researcher and a phd candidate. Her research subjects are design and activism, professional amateurs, design learning in informal contexts and the intersection of art and design practice as a medium of critique. Kaya is a Fulbright alumna.


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