P is for Political: Participation is Not Enough

Participatory Design should be a key part of Information Systems Building. How, then can Participatory Design better reflect contemporary concerns? This paper argues there is danger of complacency among Information Systems researchers about the position and meaning of Participatory Design.

Participatory Design should drive the design of information systems through a range of approaches, and be conducted at multiple points throughout the processes of  development and adoption. In this sense, Participatory Design needs to become broader and span more of the deployment process. Participatory design work should challenge patterns of dominance and power.

The paper argues Participatory Design must develop a stronger demand for analyses of societal/political/ethical consequences of ICT development, management, adoption and use. To structure this, participatory design enquiry could be targeted towards technology used to dominate groups.

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