Design, Undesign and Redesign: Eliminating Embodied Inequality

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:45 AM
Room: Booth 66
Oral Presentation
Stephen GILSON , Disability Studies, University of Maine
Liz DEPOY , Disability Studies, University of Maine
Over the past several decades, design and branding efforts for social justice and democracy have exponentially increased. Designers have apprehended and applied market strategies to create products and images to change the world. However, to date, design and branding have not been analyzed to understand and reassign their power in creating, labeling, and affixing differential worth to bodies that are disenfranchised because they are atypical, unruly alters.This vacuum leaves a huge gap in intellectual development and guidance necessary to harness design and image to challenge and diminish social inequities that have prevented local through global social acceptance for the full range of bodies. In this presentation, we argue, and illustrate through a targeted analysis of embodied design, its epistemic and axiological foundations and its praxis that design and branding are tacit yet powerful influences on the creation, reification, and perpetuation of the acceptable human corpus and its opposite. We illustrate how design and its byproducts in advanced capitalist global, national and local environments are significant social influences on determining and reifying embodied worth, internalized and assigned identity of category members, social status, and comparative flourishing of members of diverse social groups. Given this understanding, we conclude with the constructs of undesign and redesign as the power tools to advance symmetry, inclusivity, and equality for diverse bodies.