, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 164–180 | Cite as

Scandinavian human-centred systems design: Theoretical reflections and challenges



Currently there is a clear trend towards questioning the traditional sovereign human self which for two hundred years has had an undisputed central status within European culture and philosophy. This challenges the tradition of anthropocentrism which in a Scandinavian computer science context has had two theoretical foundations: the workoriented design theory represented by the Scandinavian participatory design philosophy, and the idea of the computer to a rather passive medium for human communication. The process, reducing the computer to a rather passive medium for human communication. The paper firstly examines these two theoretical anthropocentric positions. Secondly it outlines the trend towards challenging the status of the human self within different research contexts. This trend represents a challenge for Human-centred systems design. Finally, it discusses the new demands for conceptualising basic IT research phenomena created by this development, with particular focus on the issue of human-centredness as a systems design strategy.


Human-centredness Scandinavian school Computer theory Research paradigms Complexity Communication Interaction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationAalborg UniversityAalborg OestDenmark

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