Design & Neoliberalism: Special Issue

This special issue of Design and Culture examines the ways in which neoliberalism has both expanded and constricted the purview of design across multiple disciplines, including (but not limited to) product design, interaction design, graphic design, advertising, branding, fashion, digital media, experience design, web design, architecture, furniture, and other adjacent areas of inquiry and practice.
This call for papers seeks submissions that engage global perspectives on the intersections between design and neoliberalism across this wide variety of design and design-related fields. Of particular interest are submissions engaging historical perspectives, the context of the Global South, and questions of labor.
Neoliberalism has emerged over the past decade or so as a totalizing conceptual apparatus for understanding a wide array of contemporary phenomena. Whether understood politically as a system of governance that submits all functions to the authority of market directives, economically as the financialization of capitalism, or socially as the erosion of collective institutions, neoliberalism has impacted cultural production in myriad ways.
Design, when analyzed critically, has often been portrayed as complicit if not synonymous with these transformations. As Guy Julier has observed, “Design takes advantage of and normalizes the transformations that neoliberalism provokes” (Julier 2014). That is to say, design practices in this context not only organize themselves according to neoliberal political, economic, and social goals and systems, but also promote neoliberal structures and values.
Much existing work on the intersection between neoliberalism and design focuses upon the fields of architecture and urbanism, as well as humanitarian design and design activism. This issue seeks to examine connections between design and neoliberalism that have yet to be explored.
How have neoliberal economic policies shaped and constrained design, and how has design contributed to the financialization of previously uncommodified sectors of life?
How has design adapted to the increasing proliferation of global networks of exchange?
In what ways has design discourse intersected with neoliberal ideologies about work, value, creativity, experience, politics, institutions, etc.?
Topics for consideration may include, but are not limited to:
  1. • Historical convergences and/or divergences of design and neoliberalism
  2. • Design and globalization and/or nationalism
  3. • Neoliberal design ideologies in the context of international development
  4. • Race and racism at the intersection of design and neoliberalism
  5. • Discourses of innovation and “design thinking”
  6. • Design and labor and/or class
  7. • The coalescence of design and business in both the academy and industry
  8. • Conflicts and convergences between neoliberal design and modernist traditions
  9. • Indigenous design in the context of neoliberalism
  10. • Design, neoliberalism, and postcoloniality
  11. • Challenges to neoliberal design ideologies and practices
  12. • Neoliberalism and design pedagogy

Submission deadline: November 30, 2018

Manuscripts should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words long, including notes and references, and may include 4–8 images. For additional submission guidelines, please visit: http://designandculture.org/page/submissions.
All manuscripts will be externally reviewed and should be submitted through Design and Culture’s online portal: http://www.designandcultureadmin.org/index.php/dc/login.
After submitting, please email the title of your paper to the guest editors:
Arden Stern – arden.stern at artcenter.edu
Sami Siegelbaum – samisiegelbaum at gmail.com
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