Spray-on socks: ethics, agency, and the design of product–service systems

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It may be absurd to suggest that people in the future would choose to consume sock-services as convoluted as the ones de-scribed. However, the development of PSS as a model of provision makes clear that such schemes are being considered and it is certainly not beyond the realm of imagination to suppose that producers are thinking of ways to make these kinds of arrangements a reality. Through an analysis of the interaction of the ontological coordinates set by PSS itself—the product, the service, and the system—it is argued that the key challenge that the designer faces in such situations is ethical in character. Not because designers are considered to be the ultimate arbiters of good or bad; rather, since the focus of research has moved from the nature of objects to the behavior of people, it is suggested that design for use has become the design of use. The intention, therefore, is to question what conditions govern the way in which designers can operate in the emerging systemic paradigm of design, making, and provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-63
Number of pages12
JournalDesign Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

© 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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