Objects of Design: Activity Theory as an analytical framework for Design and Social Innovation

Cyril Tjahja, Joyce Yee, Mersha Aftab

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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Design and social innovation is a developing field of study. The current lack of critical analysis of initiatives and the dominance of insights and methods from European cases in academic literature are not sufficient to construct an image that could be considered as comprehensive. This paper aims to address both issues by introducing Activity Theory as an analytical framework, as its ability to examine phenomena in their native context through multiple perspectives is considered to be well-suited to study design and social innovation initiatives. The analysis of data obtained during a field study investigating three social initiatives in Bangkok contributed to understanding how they work and why they exist, in addition to highlighting the influence of the Thai social and cultural context on the role of design in the social innovation process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of the Design Management Academy 2017
Subtitle of host publicationResearch Perspectives on Creative Intersections
EditorsErik Bohemia, Cees de Bont, Lisbeth Svengren Holm
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages947
ISBN (Print)9781912294138
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2017
EventDesign Management Academy Conference 2017 - Hong Kong, China
Duration: 8 Jun 2017 → …

Publication series

NameConference Proceedings of the Design Management Academy
PublisherDesign Management Academy


ConferenceDesign Management Academy Conference 2017
Period8/06/17 → …
Internet address


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