Design activism as a new method for inquiring into mixed emotions in uncomfortable social interaction

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Over the last couple of years, design activism has attracted increasing attention among designers and design researchers, but the approach seems not to have found it’s way yet to the Design & Emotion research community. In this paper, we introduce design activism as a new approach valuable for probing into the role of mixed emotions in interpersonal interaction. To set the scene, we critically examine recent sources on design activism in order provide a general characterisation of what constitute the approach. Next, we argue for how social game can be seen as an instantiation of design activism used, in a current research project, to inquiry into how teenagers feel about visiting their incarcerated fathers in top secure prisons. Finally, we relate our findings to discourse on ambiguous emotions and use this to visualize the eliciting pattern of ambiguous emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Design & Emotion : Celebration & Contemplation
EditorsP. Desmet, S. F. Fokkinga, G. Ludden, N. Cila, H. Van Zuthem
PublisherThe Design & Emotion Society
Publication dateSept 2016
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-6186-725-4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Event10th International Conference on Design & Emotion: Celebration & Contemplation - Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 27. Sept 201630. Sept 2016
Conference number: 10


Conference10th International Conference on Design & Emotion
Internet address


  • mixed emotions
  • uncomfortable interaction
  • design activism
  • disruptions


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