Teaching ethical-participatory social design

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How to incorporate critical and societally relevant thinking and acting into Higher Education teaching formats? The article proposes social design workshops, which teach ethics through design by explicitly addressing and building on the functional diversity of participating stakeholders, and by fostering ongoing mutual reflection. These workshops are inspired by participatory design, political theory, disability studies and psychological practice research. By drawing on empirical material from a design workshop with Bachelor students and external collaborators including psychologically vulnerable stakeholders, we argue for an adaptive framework of analytical-pedagogical inquiry that can be continuously co-designed. In particular, ethical design requires a broad and emergent definition of participation. Ethical design is participatory-democratic co-design, which acknowledges and bridges across the various stakeholders’ functional diversity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDansk Universitetspaedagogisk Tidsskrift
Issue number24
Pages (from-to)20-36
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • ethical codesign
  • functional diversity
  • democratic participation
  • stakeholder collaboration
  • external partners
  • university education

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