Another opportunity is for PD to engage the more overtly political approaches to design that have emerged in HCI in recent years: Feminist HCI, postcolonial computing, and participatory action research all come to mind. Each of these foregrounds social conflict as a condition of computing, and each features sophisticated theories of power, participation, and intervention. Yet none of them have as yet been developed specifically as design methodologies.
In the special issue, Shaowen Bardzell proposes that political approaches to HCI and PD can support each other: Political theory can strengthen PD’s commitments to engaging social conflict, while PD offers mature design methods, often lacking in feminist and postcolonial theory. In this way, political approaches to systems development would gain tactics of intervention that are both accepted in industry and also well suited to sociotechnical infrastructures and processes of development, while PD would be enriched by new developments in critical and political theory, helping it adapt to new situations.