Work of the Unemployed: An inquiry into individuals’ experience of data usage in public services and possibilities for their agency

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Public services increasingly presume a new and more active role for individuals to play in datafied society. While design efforts increasingly attempt to include stakeholders, such attempts are often limited to professional perspectives. Little is known about how individuals who are subject to these solutions experience the increasing use of data about them. One example of public services is job placement. Taking design fiction as our approach, we invited individuals enrolled in job placement (n=20) to reflect on the gwork of the unemployed', a fictive scenario where individuals make themselves eligible for support through sharing data. The fiction addresses power dynamics. The study shows how approaches, such as design fiction, are effective at including marginalized communities through changing the conditions for design. Showcasing the fictional outlook, and how the gdesign experience' can be disempowering if not qualified through a deeper critique, the paper contributes to agendas on design justice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference : Nowhere and Everywhere
Number of pages11
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2021
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384766
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference: Nowhere and Everywhere, DIS 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 28 Jun 20212 Jul 2021


Conference2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference: Nowhere and Everywhere, DIS 2021
LandUnited States
ByVirtual, Online
SponsorACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI)

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.

    Research areas

  • Algorithmic systems, Design fiction, Inclusivity, Job placement, Politics of design, Public services

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ID: 281992042