Creating Friction: Infrastructuring Civic Engagement in Everyday Life

Matthias Korn, Amy Voida


This paper introduces the theoretical lens of the everyday to intersect and 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 the 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 (from ‘privileged moments’ to ‘product-residue’) and the underlying paradigm of political participation (from consensus to 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. 


Civic engagement; everyday life; infrastructuring; friction

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