Design academia and industry has increasingly recognized service as a perspective of design. However, there is still more to explore in design research regarding the assumption that sits beneath this success: What is service? In this paper I explore this question by collecting different perspectives on service that have existed throughout human history: objectified labor, mutual aid, communal sharing, and assistance by contract. By exploring these diverse historical understandings of service, I seek to draw attention to the nature of service as participation.

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