Five Enunciations of Empowerment in Participatory Design

Sara Marie Ertner, Anne-Mie Kragelund, Lone Malmborg

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Participatory design has been defined as having 'user's democratic participation and empowerment at its core' (Correia and Yusop, 2008). The PD discourse has a strong moral and rhetorical claim by its emphasis on users' empowerment. This paper is a result of a student project, guided by a curiosity about how empowerment is enunciated in the PD field today. In a literature-review of academic papers from the proceedings of PDC 2008 we found that empowerment is enunciated in five different ways which can be translated into 5 categories: 1) Specific user groups 2) Direct democracy 3) The users' position 4) Researchers' practice 5) Reflexive practice. These categories exist conjointly in the literature and suggest that empowerment is not just a moral and politically correct design goal, but a challenged and complex activity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Participatory Design Conference 2010 : Participation :: the Challenge
EditorsKeld Bødker, Tone Bratteteig, Daria Loi, Toni Robertson
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2010
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-0131-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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