Notes for an Aesthetics of Social Innovation: A Reading Through the Lenses of Jacques Rancière’s Philosophy

  • Virginia TassinariEmail author
Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)


The DESIS Philosophy Talks are an initiative of DESIS Network aiming to nurture the dialogue between design and philosophy. The idea is to match practical issues and topics emerging from design practice in the field of social innovation around the world (for instance, the ones developed within the framework of DESIS Network) with insights from the philosophical tradition. Several notions, such as beauty, public vs. private, community, etc., which normally belong to the field of social sciences appear to emerge from a kind of “phenomenological” study of different cases of design for social innovation. The DESIS Philosophy Talks want to explore them from a philosophical, theoretical perspective and see how the result of these discussions can add meaningful value to the design practice ( In the past years we have been raising the question whether we can speak of a “sustainable aesthetics” emerging from the “phenomenological” observation of both cases of grassroots social innovation and design for social innovation. The French philosopher Jacques Rancière speaks of the idea of aesthetics as shifting the political paradigm. Can we describe this emerging new paradigm of aesthetics starting from Rancière’s notion of aesthetics? Can we consider “sustainable aesthetics” today as moving the political paradigm towards a more participative and open society? If this is the case, what is the role and responsibility of design in embracing this emerging “sustainable aesthetics”? This paper presents a hypothesis on how such an aesthetics could be considered as a driver of social and behavioural change.


Aesthetics Politics Design for social innovation Design and philosophy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LUCA School of ArtsGenkBelgium

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