Being-human in the world of digital artifacts: holistic rethinking of design practices
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
This thesis conducts a philosophical, theoretical, and practical exploration of digital technology design to examine how digital technologies can fulfill our two-facet of existentiality – identified in the thesis as belonginess and novelty. By belonginess, I identify human’s innate need for a feeling of connectedness and harmony with the self, others, and the natural world. The word novelty implies the human interest in exploration, invention, and desire for new experiences. This research suggests that contemporary digital technologies are largely novelty need-oriented, while our belonginess need is either ignored or its growth curtailed. The research question presented in this thesis is how and why can design enable digital technologies to mediate aligned existentiality? With this broad question, I will argue that an alignment between digital technologies and our two-facet of existentiality can be met through refocused design practices. Strong arguments have been forwarded that novelty focused digital technologies can reduce our existential needs of belonginess. Digital technologies are leading consumerist commodities associated with creating unrelenting demand for new experiences. The search for constant stimulation and novelty has resulted in a fragmented and alienated state of being-human where the only way of feeling a sense of belonging comes from consuming more novel experiences. As contemporary everyday life is increasingly intertwined with digital technologies, their effect on our way of being-human becomes even more notable. Against this background, the research attempts to ‘bring back’ our needs of belonginess to an equal footing with novelty in digital technologies. I have examined the current digital technology design’s philosophical, theoretical, and practical foundations to refocus design, from its too strong focus on developing novelty experiences to mediating aligned existentiality. With the aim of refocusing the design role, a theoretical framework based on holism has emerged that could provide design a background to focus on mediating aligned existentiality. Primarily ivinformed by three thinkers – Marin Heidegger, Karl Marx, and John Dewey – the proposed holistic theoretical framework aims to provide design with a basis to (1) embed belonginess values in digital technologies (2) redirect digital technologies from alienating values such as consumerism, and (3) provide a mediating materiality for digital technologies to advance aligned existentiality while in use. The thesis further illustrates the proposed holistic dimensions – philosophy, theory, and practice – using three empirical materials. I argue that the proposed holistic foundation for design is also aligned with how digital technologies are being used in the everyday lifeworld. Consequently, by freeing design from its traditional responsibility of making technically savvy and novel artifacts and refocusing its role to mediating aligned existentiality, design can itself be used to support our being-human in the world of digital artifacts.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden university , 2016. , 157 p.
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 256
Aligned existentiality, the design role, belonginess, novelty, being-human, holism, dualism, digital technologies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29323ISBN: 978-91-88025-94-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-29323DiVA: diva2:1049030
2016-12-16, L111, Sundsvall, 10:00 (English)
Ngwenyama, Ojelanki, Prof.
Gidlund, Katarina L., ProfessorHedström, Karin, Professor
Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 8 accepterat, delarbete 9 under granskning.
At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 8 accepted, paper 9 under review.2016-11-252016-11-222016-11-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers