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Designing Dissent: Some Counter-hegemonic Tactics in Contemporary Design

Ernesto Ramon Rispoli


Since the 1950s, two conceptions of design - the embellishment of artifacts and the functionalist problem-solving - have been progressively imposing themselves as hegemonic. In recent years, nonetheless, the consciousness of the social and environmental unbalances provoked by neo-liberal capitalism has fostered the emergence of new perspectives that may be defined as counter-hegemonic inasmuch as they challenge such dominant paradigms. Rather than being mere technicians or creative geniuses, the designers are turning themselves into agents of material, socio-cultural, and political transformation. What are the premises and objectives underlying these perspectives? How do they concretely engage with the hegemonic modes of design?

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