The ethics and politics of design for the common good: a lesson from Alibaug

Abdelnour-Nocera, Jose ORCID: (2022) The ethics and politics of design for the common good: a lesson from Alibaug. In: Democratic Institution and Practices. Contributions to Political Science. Springer, pp. 179-195. ISBN 9783031108082

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In this chapter I argue for a socio-technical approach to technology design for the common good that addresses its ethical and political aspects. The background is that the life of marginalized people in contemporary society is challenging and uncertain. The marginalized can face health and cognitive issues as well as a lack of stability in social structures such as family, work and social inclusion. In this context, certain democratic values embedded in technology design can conceal political asymmetries and fail to deliver ethical value exchange, where value extraction is not dominated by one party but equally shared across all stakeholders. I discuss two socio-technical perspectives called human work interaction design (HWID) and Technological Frames (TF) to expose and tackle the challenges of designing technology for the common good. I introduce and evaluate an ongoing case of a digital service delivered through an app to support a fishing community in Alibaug, India. The evaluation of the socio-technical infrastructure surrounding this app is done in two parts: firstly, I use HWID to highlight inwardly and outwardly socio-technical, ethical and power relations between human work and interaction design; secondly, an argument for the use of the concept of TF to understand the constructionist and semiotic power dynamics of different groups in participatory technology design is presented. It is shown how dominant groups’ frames can construct meanings of design decisions in terms of whether they are appropriate or not. The political leverage of the scripts embedded in artefacts used in the process of design is also explained from a semiotic perspective. I conclude by highlighting the value of an ethical and political socio-technical framework for technology design for the common good with people at the margins.

Item Type: Book Section
Identifier: 10.1007/978-3-031-10808-2_12
Subjects: Computing
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Jose Abdelnour-Nocera
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2022 15:52
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2023 02:45


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