August 3, 2011 Leave a comment
American Association of Geographers, New York City, Feb 24th-28th 2012 http://www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting
Session Proposal/Call for Papers: Design, Design Activism and the Democratic Production of Future Social Natures
Deadline for abstract submission: 14 September 2011
In this session we would like to consider the genuine tensions as well as possibilities that design activism and the idea of social design politics generates for a politics of space and possibly a new politics of the environment. Modernist design has always been centrally linked to the consumer economy and technocratic modes of thinking. Nevertheless, it could be observed that in contrast to the maudlin and exhausted feel of much radical left and green politics, the interface between design and diverse struggles for social, spatial and environmental justice and appears relatively buoyant, optimistic about the progressive potential for human agency and imbued with a sense of possibility about the opportunities for ‘remaking reality’. How can we politically evaluate the new design activism? Could a new social and democratic politics of design –beyond technocratic and reductive ‘design fix’ modes of thinking – provide some kind of material substance to a new progressive politics of the environment? Could historical and contemporary engagements with design bring real content to the endlessly iterated but materially unsubstantiated and institutionally vague request in political ecology for a ‘democratic politics of nature’ (Smith, 1984; Braun and Castree,1998, Swyngedowu, 1996/2004)? Could a focus on design and the ‘politics of making’ add material content to the suggestive but often decorative and rather exclusive feel to the politics advocated by a-modern and post human geographers (Barry, 2001; Whatmore 2003; Thrift 2004; Hinchliffe,2010)?