The main points made in the two readings were very different. One leaned heavily to the belief in focused, perhaps even biased design. The other was all about looking at a design problem as a component of a larger issue. Both of these strategies have legitimate importance, and I think it’s always wise to keep an open mind about which approach is the one to take for a particular project.
I will emphasize that it should be on a per-project basis and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Social design and visual advocacy, as with any topic in design, is a highly varied and variable subject, and should be handled with care and consideration specific to the project’s own needs.
There is a time and a place to present your own focused set of values to a client or project. Concentrating on your own beliefs and values works very well when you have a vested interest in your design and its circumstances. Inversely, “big picture” problem solving is a good way to reach outside of a niche and find/address the other working parts of the social machine.
These two readings are hard and soft, subjective and objective, local and global, respectively. And there’s a legitimate purpose for each in their own realms.
Objectivity doesn’t mean soulless or distant. There will always be a piece of you in what you design.