Design: Introductory workshop – 4-5 Oct 2007 – Day 2

Response from Brian Bloomfield (Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University)

One thing that could be picked from all the discussion is the question of politics.
Fiona mentioned how designers are accidentally political, and she also raised the question about how decisions are made about what is dangerous or not. You could say that design is an ordering process. It has unintended consequences: something is always left disordered. There is always a gap between the intended user and the situated user. The lack of compliance is a political issue. Sometimes designers have to try and enforce a moral-political order of safety.
Politics could be something to explore further: the dreams of a politician responding to the moment might be different to the technocractic solutions of engineers. This issue came up in John Law’s talk in the morning. In organisational studies, the creation of order is a long-standing issue. Our hubris in thinking that we can order and control always has a price.
Issues of inclusion and exclusion are crucial in design. The politics of the workplace matter here. The way in which management turns a blind eye to safety regulations needs to be recognised.