Design and Social Science

VIPRE is empirically focused on violence, and the possibility of its prevention. However, our concerns in addressing this topic are broader and the conceptual framework we have developed can be applied to a panoply of (world) political issues. As such, VIPRE is also concerned with understanding more generally how core social science disciplines (sociology, political science, anthropology, etc.) can be reconfigured towards taking a more active ‘applied’ role in the world. There are many challenges to this task given the dividing lines that have long been believed to exist between the natural, social, applied, etc. sciences. As part of its work, VIPRE is thus engaging with the social scientific community to begin a process of re-considering the status of ‘critique’ and ‘collaboration’ within its research activities. Much of this work has been influenced by VIPRE’s understanding of the material-aesthetic (technological or not) drivers of political violence. The emerging understanding that political violence often occurs non-purposefully due to the global circulation of material-aesthetic artifacts demands that social science consider whether it must extend the nature of its praxis beyond pure, basic, or fundamental modes of ‘knowledge production’ and towards developing material-aesthetic interventions into the fabric of (world) politics. As part of this debate, members of VIPRE have begun developing a research programme known as International Political Design, which seeks to combine social scientific insights with those of design scientists, architects, engineers, and technologists.