STS meet Participatory Design for social good: the case of Commonfare
(Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute)
Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses the interdisciplinary intersection between STS and design practice and the politics of the encounter between researchers, activists and local populations in the light of a European ICT and action-research project called Commonfare.
Paper long abstract:
By drawing on the overarching theme of the conference, with this paper I would like to focus on two forms of meeting: the interdisciplinary intersection between STS and design practice and the politics of the encounter between researchers, activists and local populations. I will discuss these acts of coming together in the light of a European ICT project called Commonfare, which aims to confront the precarization of individual lives and social relations that a growing number of European citizens are experiencing, by leveraging the potential of digital technologies. The goal of the project is in fact the development of a digital platform which allows people and social groups to inform and be informed about local welfare policies, and to connect and support grassroots initiatives based on social cooperation and mutual-aid practices. In illustrating the critical social theories informing the articulation of the project, I will discuss how design practices - and especially Participatory Design - can benefit from the understanding of theories and methods as performative - as advanced by some strands of STS (Law and Urry, 2004; Mol, 1999) - in its attempt to develop technological infrastructure as a site of political potential; on the other hand, I will focus on the production of situated knowledge derived from the encounter between researchers, activists and local populations and the ways whereby such encounter can support people to express desires, to share knowledge and counter-narratives, and to co-construct opportunities for change.
STS meet ICT: politics and the collaborative turn in STS