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An exploration of how design might be led by marginalized communities, dismantle structural inequality, and advance collective liberation and ecological survival.
What is the relationship between design, power, and social justice? “Design justice” is an approach to design that is led by marginalized communities and that aims expilcitly to challenge, rather than reproduce, structural inequalities. It has emerged from a growing community of designers in various fields who work closely with social movements and community-based organizations around the world.
This book explores the theory and practice of design justice, demonstrates how universalist design principles and practices erase certain groups of people—specifically, those who are intersectionally disadvantaged or multiply burdened under the matrix of domination (white supremacist heteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, and settler colonialism)—and invites readers to “build a better world, a world where many worlds fit; linked worlds of collective liberation and ecological sustainability.” Along the way, the book documents a multitude of real-world community-led design practices, each grounded in a particular social movement. Design Justice goes beyond recent calls for design for good, user-centered design, and employment diversity in the technology and design professions; it connects design to larger struggles for collective liberation and ecological survival.
About the Author
Sasha Costanza-Chock (they/them or she/her) is Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT, a Faculty Associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a board member of Allied Media Projects (alliedmedia.org), and the author of numerous articles and two books. Their first book is Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets! Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement (MIT Press).
2021 PROSE Award Winner, Engineering & Technology Category
"Books like [Design Justice] offer insight into the history of disability and ideas for building on the ADA’s foundation of basic protections to create a more just world for the variety of humans who inhabit it."—The Washington Post
"Constanza-Chock viscerally articulates the glaring gap between those who design commercial surveillance technology and those on whom it is used."