Design Cybernetics: Concluding Remarks From a Semi-external Perspective
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The editors of this anthology have invited me to write a synthesis, which should relate the texts to each other and discuss them with respect to the general design research discourse. Most contributions are closely leaning on Pask and Glanville. Building on Pask, Glanville conceives the design process as a conversation that the designer holds with objects, with him/herself or with others. Two basic traits of the approach become apparent that limit the approach: First, the largely personal character of the conversation; the ideal constellation consists of two people present, talking to each other. Second, the harmonic tendency towards consensus in conversations, even if the constructivist character of generating individual meaning is emphasized. My concluding essay contextualises and situates design cybernetics within the harsh and unfriendly environment of present-day digitized global capitalism, which is excessively exploiting the unlimited potential of so-called social media. Based on this and taking into account the feedback of the contributing authors I formulate some concerns regarding the deficits of current second-order cybernetics and design cybernetics. The critique can be concentrated on the missing of an advanced systemic social theory and focuses on three topics: systems, communication and evolution. Furthermore, I suggest to work out the necessarily political character of design cybernetics. In a final section I reflect on the issue of rigour and/or relevance in design cybernetics.
KeywordsSecond-order cybernetics ⋅ Strengths and weaknesses ⋅ Critique ⋅ Contextualization
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