Mediation of Conflicts through Design: How American Execution Chambers Represent Conflicting Social Perspectives

Author: Damle, Amod

Source: The Design Journal, 1 March 2013, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 8-28(21)


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Artefact mediation literature refers to mediation as a process through which diverse social entities resolve their differences and assign a common symbolic meaning to an artefact. This research proposes that diverse social groups cannot arrive at a set of common conventions and form meaningful relationships with one another unless such groups recognize their ideological differences. The current study investigates the concept of recognition as it pertains to artefact mediation. It examines ways in which artefacts allow unequal social groups to reach a compromise while preserving their differences. For example, the adoption of enclosed execution chambers allowed the American judicial system to deliver a symbolic message denoting the triumph of good over evil and facilitate recognition between two conflicting social groups: those who believed that capital punishment was necessary and a minority group that condemned it as an unnecessary act of cruelty.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2013

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