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Transformation Design

Perspectives on a New Design Attitude

Edited by: Wolfgang Jonas, Sarah Zerwas and Kristof von Anshelm
Design in the post growth society

“Transformation design” is looking for new ways to change our behavior and society through new forms of innovation. The existing user-oriented approach of design must therefore be extended to one that is society-oriented.

The concept of transformation is based on the anthropologist Karl Paul Polanyi and his book The Great Transformation (1944), which described the emergence of the now almost undisputed and globally widespread western market logic: the transformation of societies with markets into market societies, which he calls “dislodgment of the markets”.

Meanwhile, leading think tanks are referring to Polanyi. They are calling for a new social contract and the “re-embedding” of the market into society. What are the possible instruments and contributions of design for this new “Great Transformation”?

The variety of the above questions, answers, theories, methods, ideas, and projects suggests that “transformation design” is not in fact a discipline in itself, but that it will lead to a fruitful discourse. The book attempts to form an initial position in terms of this ambitious and ethical design perspective. It also seeks to inspire the international debate to push for a project of responsible design.

  • Current topical debate on design and society

Author Information

Wolfgang Jonas; Sarah Zerwas; Kristof von Anshelm, Braunschweig University of Art.

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Audience: Designforschende, Designstudierende, Umwelt-, Sozial-, Nachhaltigkeitswissenschaftler

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