Design in Marketization: The Invention of Car Safety in Automobile Markets
Journal article, 2023

This article conceptualizes the relation between design, economics, and innovation. Rather than connecting design to economics through the notion of value, it explores how economics construes negative side-effects of market activities. Aligning itself with recent She Ji contributions that tie design to the economic sociology of Michel Callon, this article argues that markets assume a constant process of managing such side-effects. The invention of car safety and the development of safety design features in 1950s Sweden illustrate this. Automotive design through safety innovations can be seen as a design process that transcended the clear separation between business and politics assumed by neoclassical economics. This article argues that this phenomenon is a concern for design scholars as well as social scientists. I assert that it is important to explore this line of inquiry by investigating design processes in different economic settings.


Theory of the firm



Car safety



Karl Palmås

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Science, Technology and Society

She Ji

24058726 (ISSN) 24058718 (eISSN)

Vol. 9 1 5-20

Subject Categories



Driving Forces

Innovation and entrepreneurship



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