Understanding Dynamics of Identity Navigation in Social Design

Eva Knutz, Thomas Markussen, Valentijn Visch, Ed Tan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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The aim of this paper is to initiate an interdisciplinary dialogue between social design and narrative theory in understanding how vulnerable families navigate personal and shared identities. To exemplify this, we draw upon results from a design research project that introduces board games in prisons to help children develop bonds with their incarcerated fathers. In our case study we offer a method of analysis that enable design researchers to delve into the complex field of identity navigation. Further, we offer a focused reflection arguing that the vulnerability of these families can be conceived as family identities being broken or challenged. We attempt to show that identity is constructed through family members’ co-authoring of family narratives, which manifest themselves in different formats such as ‘master narratives’ and ‘counter narratives’. Design research has the potential to examine identity formations by applying narrative theory in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSynergy - DRS International Conference 2020
EditorsS. Boess, M. Cheung, R. Cain
PublisherGriffith University
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventDesign Research Society International Conference 2020: Synergy - Online
Duration: 11. Aug 202014. Aug 2020


ConferenceDesign Research Society International Conference 2020
SeriesDesign Research Society Research Papers


  • Social design
  • Identity navigation
  • Family narratives
  • Constructive design research

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