Systemic design is gaining popularity as an emerging professional design practice that works to address complex societal problems. This elitist view of systemic design reinforces the difficulty of grappling with complexity and the need for specialized design knowledge, skills, and methods to do so. Such an understanding emphasizes the power of the designer, feeds the underlying business model through which systemic design is bought and sold in a capitalist market, and limits its transformative potential. Taking a pragmatist perspective of systemic design, this article brings forward an alternative view of systemic design as an embodied, everyday experience of shaping social structures amid communities. It repositions systemic design as a pervasive, mundane, and pluralistic practice central to autonomous communities. The article calls for an emphasis on cultivating the reflexivity of collectives so that people can continue to shape their own worlds in respectful relations with others.

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