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Shaping Social Structures

Type of project
Applied research
Norwegian Research Council through Center for Connected Care (C3)

About the project

This research project explores the ways in which people can purposefully shape social structures—shared norms, rules, roles, values and beliefs. Social structures are recognized as a key leverage point in the transformation of social systems.  

This research takes an abductive approach that combines empirical inputs from service and systemic design practice and theoretical inputs from institutional theory and the broader social sciences to build an understanding of the mechanisms for intentionally reforming social structures through design.

A key focus of this research is on building reflexivity—an awareness of the multiplicity of social structures internalized by oneself and others—as reflexivity is recognized as a prerequisite for purposeful change.

This project works to advance service and systemic design theory through a social structures lens. It also aims to support the development of new design approaches that aid individuals and collectives in building reflexivity and reforming social structures.