Assessing design approaches' political role in the public sector
by Federico Vaz; Maria Ferreira
J. of Design Research (JDR), Vol. 19, No. 4/5/6, 2021

Abstract: Governments worldwide are increasingly adopting design tools and methods to explore new ways of public policy-making and governance. Such design approaches are often portrayed as politically neutral. Building on contemporary research that argues the contrary, this paper proposes a framework for making their political dimension explicit by distinguishing between the artefacts, techniques, and discourses that compose them. This paper is based on an interactive session held at DRS2018 where design practitioners and academics piloted the proposed framework and follow-up interviews with some of the participants. The analysis revealed the recurrence of certain themes, in particular the reinforcement of existing power relations and the encroachment of market logics into the public sector through the introduction of design approaches. This, we argue, shows how the proposed framework contributes to the awareness of the political implications of design tools and methods utilised in the public sector by making their underlying political conceptions visible.

Online publication date: Mon, 18-Jul-2022

The full text of this article is only available to individual subscribers or to users at subscribing institutions.

Existing subscribers:
Go to Inderscience Online Journals to access the Full Text of this article.

Pay per view:
If you are not a subscriber and you just want to read the full contents of this article, buy online access here.

Complimentary Subscribers, Editors or Members of the Editorial Board of the J. of Design Research (JDR):
Login with your Inderscience username and password:

    Username:        Password:         

Forgotten your password?

Want to subscribe?
A subscription gives you complete access to all articles in the current issue, as well as to all articles in the previous three years (where applicable). See our Orders page to subscribe.

If you still need assistance, please email