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Managing Collaborative Critique in Times of Financialisation Capitalism

Journal article
Authors Erling Björgvinsson
Published in PARSE
Issue 5
Pages 93 -110
ISSN 2002-0511
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Design and Crafts
Pages 93 -110
Language en
Keywords Collaborative design, Design Management, Infrastructuring, Counter Narratives
Subject categories Design


Management is an integral aesthetic-political-economic aspect of design practices, whether conducted as research or as part of a professional practice. It includes situated coordination of partnerships made up of heterogeneous socio-material entities. Such coordination through modes of assembly and decision-making is essential when devising more democratic forms of co-design and collaborative critique. The article compares and contrasts assemblies that operate within dominant social systems through consensual processes with assemblies that operate outside of the dominant regime. Those that operate within dominant social systems through affirmative and additive critique have difficulty accounting for substantial change, and at best can engage in minor reformist aesthetic-political changes. Additive and affirmative ways of working also tend to hide the violence they produce. Those that operate outside of the dominant social system by negating, delinking and disaffirming established infrastructures through the development of new formations – re-assembling and re-infrastructuring – account for the violence of their critique and can empower marginalised positions. The article also contrasts collaborative critique through assemblies that focus on local dense actor-networks with those that acknowledge meso-level issues related to wider aesthetic-political-economic relations. What type of assemblies are devised, how does the scope of the site of intervention and the level of analytical abstraction orient what aspects of the issue worked on can be re-made?

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