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Design in Use - Session 1


Wed 26. 8.  11:00 - 12:30
room FA 504

The role of Sociologists in a designed world: some reflections from the wikirate project


De Paoli, Stefano
Abertay University, United Kingdom

The goal of this presentation is to reflect on the changing role of the sociologist in a world which is increasingly designed. I will argue that role of the sociologist is under transformation and that sociologists need to have a proactive role in the design of technological systems supporting social transformations. This requires an articulation of sociological theory and design research aimed at designing social action rather than just understanding it (Verstehen). This active role also breaks with the value-neutrality perspective of Sociology (Weber, 1922). I will discuss the changing role of sociologist by using my direct experience of working in a research project called Wikirate (http://wikirate.org), funded by the European Commission under the initiative Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPS). CAPS are pilot web platforms whose goal is to offer citizens opportunities for engaging in bottom-up processes of social innovation (Arniani et al. 2014). The Wikirate project, for example, is a web platform where citizens can contribute to rate the ethical behaviour of companies. CAPS are also interdisciplinary research laboratories. Sociologists take an active role in designing CAPS platforms: they work actively with engineers and computer scientists in constructing the web elements and technology features for supporting the activities of citizens. I will discuss the changing role of sociologist in a designed world the Wikirate case: a web platform where we design features supporting citizens in rating the ethical behaviour of companies. References Arniani, M., Badii, A., De Liddo, A., Georgi, S., Passani, A., Piccolo, L.S.G., & Teli, M., (2014). Collective Awareness Platform for Sustainability and Social Innovation: An Introduction. http://caps2020.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CAPS_Handbook.pdf Weber, M. (1922, trans. 1978). Economy and society: An outline of interpretive sociology. Univ of California Press.