Generative Allegories of Oppression and Emancipation: Reflecting with Computational Social Models

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Ricardo Sosa


This paper presents a computational approach to growing artificial societies (agent-based simulations) as an explicit, accessible, and systematic tool to visualize and generate insights and new questions about Paulo Freire’s concepts of oppression and emancipation. These models do not make claims of validity or prediction, instead, their value is to structure our thinking and support our understanding. Here, I use computational social simulations as generative allegories to reflect upon the role of designers in participatory, co-design, and social design contexts. The paper shows how Freirean ideas can help reframe design as a pedagogical craft based on dialogue and collective inquiry.

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How to Cite
Sosa, R. (2022). Generative Allegories of Oppression and Emancipation: Reflecting with Computational Social Models. Diseña, (21), Article.7.
Original articles
Author Biography

Ricardo Sosa, Auckland University of Technology; Universidad de Monash

Ph.D. in Design Computing, University of Sydney. He earned a Bachelor´s degree in Industrial Design from Univer­sidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico. He is a Professor in the School of Future Environments at Auckland University of Tech­nology and an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at Monash University. He is interested in the creative and critical design of technology. His research is focused on crea­tivity and innovation, multi-agent social systems, methods and support systems for design, and participatory decision-making. Some of his latest publications include ‘I am a Creative Loop: Towards Integrative Studios in Design and Creative Techno­logies’ (Revista GEMInIS, Vol. 13, Issue 3), ‘A Computational Interrogation of “Big-C” and “Little-c” Creativity’ (with M. van Di­jck, Creativity Research Journal, Vol. 34, Issue 3), and ‘A Freirean Interrogation of Creativity Beliefs’ (with A. Connor, International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, Vol. 9, Issue 1).


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