2 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2018
    1. Now an impoverished Marxist cultural critique suggests that such encounters between people, qua humans with richly diverse lives, are the very opposite of — or further, directly opposed by — the alienated encounters underwritten, if not compelled, by money. You see this kind of argument when people say “the ‘sharing economy’ is an oxymoron that has nothing to do with sharing because people are lending their underutilized resources for financial recompense.” However, what has always seemed to me most interesting about many ‘sharing economy’ platforms is not that they are spaces outside of commercialism, but rather ways of affording a re-embedding of economic exchanges in social relations within commercialism. When I ride-share or home-share, there might be money changing hands, but the actual experience of the ‘service’ is of two people (when there are face-to-face encounters) who cannot entirely withdraw into prescribed roles of employee and customer. This is why these ‘sharing economy’ experiences tend to be awkward, in ways that I have tried to argue are in fact deconstructive of the monolithically abstract idea of capitalism.These moments underline that there can be ‘sharing’ within economies, that relations between strangers do occur at levels or in ways beyond what is covered by their monetization. Service designing, it seems to me, is precisely the pursuit of these forms of sociality that exceed commercialism even within commercial interactions. This is the quality that a well-designed service encounter will manifest, a quality that will differentiate such a service from other less-designed ways of managing or engineering services.Service designers should therefore be expertly sensitive to these emergent and sometimes even resistant socialities. Designers should understand that at the very core of their practice is all that is concealed by excessively capitalistic perspectives: the hidden labor of informal economies; the emotional and aesthetic labor provision that service interactions compel from providers without adequate recompense; the satisfiers that make care work rewarding beyond their inequitable pay scales; the moments of delight involved in the comfort of strangers. All of these, it should be clear, are political, sensitivities that acknowledge oppression and exploitation via gender, race and class.All this is why service design is never just the design of this or that service, but part of the wider project of redesigning work and generating sustainable livelihoods. For instance, service design is not tangential to current debates about the roboticization of jobs. Service design is unavoidably involved in Transition Design, toward or away from meaningful work, or rather perhaps toward or away from quality ways of organizing the resourcing of new kinds of society.
  2. Jun 2018