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In search of fairness. Critical design alternatives for Sustainability

Tessy Cerratto Pargman and Somya Joshi
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 11:00
Abstract Caught between the infinite promise unleashed by technology proliferation and the unprecedented scale of resource depletion, waste and inequity, we inhabit a space where critical alternatives are sought more than ever. As a reflection of the above, we find in HCI, a slant towards technological fixes to existing sustainability problems, as opposed to a more holistic approach that includes behavioural and societal change. It is within this context that this paper is situated, where we propose a socio-ecological approach and argue our case for a life-cycle lens towards building systems that are in line with current understanding of the earth’s finite resources. We do so by presenting an illustrative case study of what such critical alternatives might look like, by examining the Fairphone movement. We contribute to a deeper understanding of how social value laden enterprises along with open technological design can shape sustainable relationships between our environment and us.

Related paper presented at ICT4S:

Tessy Cerratto Pargman I am an associate professor of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at Stockholm University (SU) in Sweden since February 2003. My research belongs to the research field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). I am interested in the relationship between writing, meaning and technology from socio-cultural and critical perspectives of literacy and tool use. I work with a particular focus on design, adoption and use of technologies for participatory and collaborative purposes. I have after my sabbatical at UCI developed a special interest in issues pertaining to information technology and sustainability in HCI. I lead the research group on Critical Computing (CRITIC) and since january 2016 I am head of Interaction Design and Learning (IDEAL) research unit at the Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University.

Somya Joshi is a research scientist with expertise in the field of Human Computer Interaction when applied to Social Innovation & Sustainability. Her specialisation falls within the applied context of technological innovation, particularly in how it translates into transparency in governance, environmental conservation and health services within the developing world. She has experience working with a range of partners from academia, industry, NGOs, as well as international development organisations, towards the common goal of facilitating inclusive development. Currently, Somya is a Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow at eGovernance-Lab, within DSV (Department of Computer & Systems Science) at Stockholm University. She is responsible for course development and teaching on two Masters programs - namely: ICT4D, as well Open Governance & e-Democracy. In addition to this, she is teaching an Undergraduate course on Participatory Design and HCI - with a specific focus on Sustainability. Somya is at present project managing and researching within pan-European projects that aim to bring together the political-ecology of participation and sustainability within the same discourse.