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Creating Friction

My paper entitled “Creating Friction: Infrastructuring Civic Engagement in Everyday Life” has been accepted for publication at the decennial Aarhus  Conference — Critical Alternatives.  Written with co-author Matthias Korn, we introduce theories of the everyday to extend the emerging bodies of research on contestational design and infrastructures of civic engagement. Our analysis of social theories of everyday life suggests a design space that distinguishes ‘privileged moments’ of civic engagement from a more holistic understanding of everyday as ‘product-residue.’ We analyze various efforts that researchers have undertaken to design infrastructures of civic engagement along two axes: the everyday-ness of the engagement fostered (‘privileged moments’ versus ‘product-residue’) and the underlying paradigm of political participation (consensus versus contestation). Our analysis reveals the dearth and promise of infrastructures that create friction—provoking contestation through use that is embedded in the everyday life of citizens. Ultimately, this paper is a call to action for designers to create friction.