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This paper presents the identification and analysis of a set of four 'oblique constraints'-named as progress dogma, future nudge, means and ends, and infrastraints-which act as pervasive but often unacknowledged constraining influences that shape design practice and by extension limit future possibilities. We ask: How and why is power exerted? How might this lead to impoverished or problematic futures? How can this dynamic be changed from a design perspective? Drawing from examples of recentdoi:10.21606/nordes.2017.025 fatcat:rv76tt3mnjfidiqj4ihexrxicm