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Abstract

Specific, situated Participatory Design (PD) practices have always been at the heart of Participatory Design research. The role of the very situat­edness and specificity of PD practice for theory-building within PD research is, however, seldom discussed explicitly. In this article, we explore why and in which ways the specificity and situatedness of PD practices are crucial for PD research. We do so by developing the notion of PD as situated innovation based on a pragmatic epistemology. PD research aims at devel­oping and continuously unfolding what PD can, might and should be. We show implica­tions of such a pragmatic epistemology of PD on understanding and arguing for PD research approaches. These concepts are illustrated referring to PD practices as experienced in PD research projects. Our epistemological argu­mentation supports the emphasis on ex­ploring new PD practices and learning and theorizing about PD from the spec­ificities, in line with recent debate contributions.

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