Dealing with Disasters: Some Warnings from Science and Technology Studies (STS)

Show simple item record Matthewman, Steven en 2014-08-18T21:32:33Z en 2014-07-24 en
dc.identifier.citation Journal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM), 2014, 40 (1) en
dc.identifier.issn 2185-8322 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Science and technology are often offered as the source of society’s salvation, yet a generation of sociological work on risk seems to reverse this stance. Science and its technological application are positioned as today’s greatest sources of ruination. Put differently, our biggest threats and gravest disasters seem to be internal to society itself. Ulrich Beck (1992), Anthony Giddens (1990) and others suggest that they are nothing less than the side effects of industrial modernity. For risk society theorists we clearly now dwell in an era of “manufactured uncertainty” in which various risks keep accumulating (Beck 2009). Such statements beg for empirical elaboration, something which the grand theorists of the risk society have been loath to engage in. Fortunately there is an abundance of material available to us from Science Technology Studies (STS). This can be brought into a critical dialogue with risk society material. In this presentation we consider the two literatures to ask the question: can we identify specifically modern forms of risk and disaster? The argument will be made that we can. There are historically novel forms of risk related to the power, complexity, openness and vulnerability of the sociotechnical systems that sustain us. There are also novel consequences too in terms of the temporality and spatial distribution of the risks that they generate. In The Next Disaster Charles Perrow (2007) argued that the two great contemporary risk factors are the concentration of energies and the concentration of populations. In this paper I suggest a third: the concentration of information. The rise of Big Data also brings novel risks that we must attend to. Having made these arguments we will then offer some answers to a follow-on question: what can be done to mitigate such risks and disasters? en
dc.relation.ispartofseries Journal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM) en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Dealing with Disasters: Some Warnings from Science and Technology Studies (STS) en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.identifier.doi 10.5995/idrim.2014.0087 en
pubs.issue 1 en
pubs.volume 40 en en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.subtype Article en
pubs.elements-id 448748 en Arts en Social Sciences en Sociology en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2014-08-06 en

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