Norm Critical Design and Ethnography: Possibilities, Objectives and Stakeholders

Anna Isaksson*, Emma Borjesson, Maja Gunn, Camilla Andersson, Karin Ehrnberger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The aim of this article is to describe the potential of combining norm critical design and ethnography in a collaborative project seeking to promote social change. In doing so the article will contribute with new perspectives on how design and ethnography can be practised in a joint effort between researchers and organisations. The article examines the following research questions: How can norm critical design and ethnography be used in a collaborative project seeking to promote change towards gender equality in an organisation? What distinguishes a norm critical design approach from other approaches using design and ethnography for intervention and social change? By taking their point of departure in a collaborative project with the Swedish fire and rescue service the authors demonstrate how a norm critical perspective on design in combination with ethnography provides a pedagogical tool for different stakeholders seeking to promote change in organisations. Even though a norm critical design approach like this shares the same interest in social change as more conventional ethnography and design projects do, there are some crucial and interesting differences when it comes to objectives and the collection of stakeholders that will be explored in this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-252
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • collaboration
  • design
  • ethnography
  • gender equality
  • norm critical design
  • stakeholders

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