Issues of Power and Representation in/of the Local Context: The role of self-reflexivity and positionality in design research

Oz G., Timur Ş.

DESIGN JOURNAL, vol.26, no.2, pp.252-269, 2023 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14606925.2022.2088097
  • Journal Name: DESIGN JOURNAL
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, ABI/INFORM, Art Source, Design & Applied Arts Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.252-269
  • Keywords: Self-reflexivity, positionality, design research, local knowledge, fieldwork experience, INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE, RESPECTFUL DESIGN, FIELDWORK, REFLECTION
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This article links design research in local contexts to the methodological issues of positionality and self-reflexivity. A critical examination of design's relationship with the local context indicates a need for self-reflexive methodologies as means of addressing power imbalances in the field, deciphering prejudices, and maintaining receptivity to diverse ways of knowing and approaches to knowledge. Drawing upon the first author's experience of fieldwork in a Turkish village, this article delves into the fluidity of positioning in the field. It self-reflexively examines the impact of the positionality of identities claimed and assigned during the research process, the relations and interactions that occurred in the field and the construction of the research text. While promoting self-reflexivity as a tool for critically engaged research, the article also addresses how design researchers in the local context might associate these methodological insights to their own studies.