Understanding Development Discourse through Ontological Design
The case of South Korea
Keywords:Ontological design, Discourse, Developmentalism, Coloniality, Hermeneutics
Discourse is a powerful way of understanding/forming the world. It consolidates/disassembles society by conforming/disarticulating. However, the work of discourses has not been explained sufficiently in terms of design theory. In this respect, this paper aims to explore how the work of discourses can be understood in relation to the concept of ontological design, especially from the perspective of coloniality. The case of South Korea’s development experience around different types of development assistance strategies was used to interrogate this question. A hermeneutic approach and discourse analysis were adopted for the empirical analysis. The research found the designed development assistance strategies of the “West” design back the development thinking and new development assistance strategies in South Korea. In doing so, the country replicates the “West-centred” discourse of developmentalism. From this, we conclude that discourses are shared through the ontological practices of designing. This informs design studies of how discourse relates to design.