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Vulnerability in Technological Cultures:New Directions in Research and Governance

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2014
Author(s): Anique Hommels; Jessica Mesman; Wiebe E. Bijker
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: Communication, Networking & Broadcasting ;  General Topics for Engineers
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Abstract

Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping mechanisms may yield a more flexible and resilient society. This book investigates vulnerability, in both its negative and positive aspects, in technological cultures. The contributors argue that viewing risk in terms of vulnerability offers a novel approach to understanding the risks and benefits of science and technology. Such an approach broadens conventional risk analysis by connecting to issues of justice, solidarity, and livelihood, and enabling comparisons between the global north and south. The book explores case studies that range from agricultural practices in India to neonatal intensive care medicine in Western hospitals; these cases, spanning the issues addressed in the book, illustrate what vulnerability is and does. The book offers conceptual frameworks for empirical description and analysis of vulnerability that elucidate its ambiguity, context dependence, and constructed nature. Finally, the book addresses the implications of these analyses for the governance of vulnerability, proposing a more reflexive way of dealing with vulnerability in technological cultures.ContributorsMarjolein van Asselt, Martin Boeckhout, Wiebe Bijker, Tessa Fox, Stephen Healy, Anique Hommels, Sheila Jasanoff,Jozef Keulartz, Jessica Mesman, Ger Palmboom, C. Shambu Prasad, Julia Quartz, Johan M. Sanne, Maartje Schermer, Teesta Setelvad, Esha Shah, Andy Stirling, Imrat Verhoeven, Esther Versluis, Shiv Visvanathan, Gerard de Vries, Ger Wa ckers, Dick Willems

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      Front Matter

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half Title, Inside Technology, Title, Copyright, Contents, Contributing Authors View full abstract»

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      Studying Vulnerability in Technological Cultures

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Vulnerability in Technological Cultures: Approach, Studying Vulnerability: Units of Analysis, Heuristics of Studying Vulnerabilities, Conclusion, Notes View full abstract»

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      Framing the Vulnerability Issue

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping mechanisms may yield a more flexible and resilient society. This book investigates vulnerability, in both its negative and positive aspects, in technological cultures. The contributors argue that viewing risk in terms of vulnerability offers a novel approach to understanding the risks and benefits of science and technology. Such an approach broadens conventional risk analysis by connecting to issues of justice, solidarity, and livelihood, and enabling comparisons between the global north and south. The book explores case studies that range from agricultural practices in India to neonatal intensive care medicine in Western hospitals; these cases, spanning the issues addressed in the book, illustrate what vulnerability is and does. The book offers conceptual frameworks for empirical description and analysis of vulnerability that elucidate its ambiguity, context dependence, and constructed nature. Finally, the book addresses the implications of these analyses for the governance of vulnerability, proposing a more reflexive way of dealing with vulnerability in technological cultures.ContributorsMarjolein van Asselt, Martin Boeckhout, Wiebe Bijker, Tessa Fox, Stephen Healy, Anique Hommels, Sheila Jasanoff,Jozef Keulartz, Jessica Mesman, Ger Palmboom, C. Shambu Prasad, Julia Quartz, Johan M. Sanne, Maartje Schermer, Teesta Setelvad, Esha Shah, Andy Stirling, Imrat Verhoeven, Esther Versluis, Shiv Visvanathan, Gerard de Vries, Ger Wa ckers, Dick Willems View full abstract»

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      Agricultural Change in a South Indian Village: An Account of the Multiplicity of Vulnerable Livelihoods

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Livelihood Research and Vulnerability Studies, The Vulnerability of Livelihoods in Laxminaikthanda from a Diachronic Perspective, The Vulnerability of Livelihoods in Laxminaikthanda from a Synchronous Perspective, Conclusion: The Social Construction of Vulnerability, Appendix 2.1, Notes View full abstract»

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      Cultural Politics of Vulnerability: Historical-Ethnography of Dearth and Debt, and Farmers' Suicides in India

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Cultural Politics: Concept and Method, Politics of Agrarian Change: Locating the Study, Cultural Politics of Dearth: Avaga, Evaga, Cultural Politics of Dearth: Imagining the Past, Cultural Politics of Dearth and Death: Fear of Pauperization, Fear of Pauperization and Rural Alienation, Conclusion: Cultural Politics of Vulnerability, Notes View full abstract»

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      Relocation of Vulnerability in Neonatal Intensive Care Medicine

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Vulnerable Patients, Parents, and Practitioners, The Brittleness of Reliable Arrangements, Concluding Remarks, Notes View full abstract»

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      Vulnerability and Development—Bhopal's Lasting Legacy

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Accident and Aftermath, Asymmetries of Knowledge and Power, A Visit to Bhopal, Notes View full abstract»

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      Narratives of Vulnerability and Violence: Retelling the Gujarat Riots

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Question of Technology, Vulnerability: Setting an Agenda, Vulnerability and the Violence of Riots, Testimonies, Vulnerability and Memory, Vulnerability and Storytelling, Vulnerability and the Discourse of Technology, Notes View full abstract»

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      Exploring the Ambiguity of Vulnerability

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping mechanisms may yield a more flexible and resilient society. This book investigates vulnerability, in both its negative and positive aspects, in technological cultures. The contributors argue that viewing risk in terms of vulnerability offers a novel approach to understanding the risks and benefits of science and technology. Such an approach broadens conventional risk analysis by connecting to issues of justice, solidarity, and livelihood, and enabling comparisons between the global north and south. The book explores case studies that range from agricultural practices in India to neonatal intensive care medicine in Western hospitals; these cases, spanning the issues addressed in the book, illustrate what vulnerability is and does. The book offers conceptual frameworks for empirical description and analysis of vulnerability that elucidate its ambiguity, context dependence, and constructed nature. Finally, the book addresses the implications of these analyses for the governance of vulnerability, proposing a more reflexive way of dealing with vulnerability in technological cultures.ContributorsMarjolein van Asselt, Martin Boeckhout, Wiebe Bijker, Tessa Fox, Stephen Healy, Anique Hommels, Sheila Jasanoff,Jozef Keulartz, Jessica Mesman, Ger Palmboom, C. Shambu Prasad, Julia Quartz, Johan M. Sanne, Maartje Schermer, Teesta Setelvad, Esha Shah, Andy Stirling, Imrat Verhoeven, Esther Versluis, Shiv Visvanathan, Gerard de Vries, Ger Wa ckers, Dick Willems View full abstract»

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      Creative Dissent: Linking Vulnerability and Knowledge in India

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Gandhian Tradition of Creative Dissent, Experiments in Creative Dissent: Gandhi and Beyond, Vulnerability of Indian Agriculture and Creative Dissent, SRI and Creative Dissent, Conclusion: Vulnerability and Creative Dissent, Notes View full abstract»

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      Resilience: Contingency, Complexity, and Practice

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Micro-Level: From Rational Actors to Situated Ensembles, The Meso-Level: Institutions and Socio-Technical Systems, The Meta-Level: From Ecosystems to Societies, Integrative Framings, Normative Groundings, and Relational Analyses, Notes View full abstract»

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      Entrainment, Imagination, and Vulnerability#x2014;Lessons from Large-Scale Accidents in the Offshore Industry

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Societal Ecology: Securing Regular Supply of Energy, Snorre A before the Disaster, The Snorre A Accident, Recovery, Conclusion: Imagination and Improvisation, Notes View full abstract»

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      Vulnerable Practices: Organizing through Bricolage in Railroad Maintenance

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Vulnerabilities, Bricolage, and Heterogeneous Engineering, Research Design, Data, Rapport, and Triangulation, Increasing Production through Fine Tuning, Barter, and Substitution, Substituting Full Visibility with Artifacts, Increasing Safety though Bricolage: Adding Protection, Conclusions: Vulnerable Practices, Symmetry, and Practical Implications View full abstract»

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      The Governance of Vulnerability

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping mechanisms may yield a more flexible and resilient society. This book investigates vulnerability, in both its negative and positive aspects, in technological cultures. The contributors argue that viewing risk in terms of vulnerability offers a novel approach to understanding the risks and benefits of science and technology. Such an approach broadens conventional risk analysis by connecting to issues of justice, solidarity, and livelihood, and enabling comparisons between the global north and south. The book explores case studies that range from agricultural practices in India to neonatal intensive care medicine in Western hospitals; these cases, spanning the issues addressed in the book, illustrate what vulnerability is and does. The book offers conceptual frameworks for empirical description and analysis of vulnerability that elucidate its ambiguity, context dependence, and constructed nature. Finally, the book addresses the implications of these analyses for the governance of vulnerability, proposing a more reflexive way of dealing with vulnerability in technological cultures.ContributorsMarjolein van Asselt, Martin Boeckhout, Wiebe Bijker, Tessa Fox, Stephen Healy, Anique Hommels, Sheila Jasanoff,Jozef Keulartz, Jessica Mesman, Ger Palmboom, C. Shambu Prasad, Julia Quartz, Johan M. Sanne, Maartje Schermer, Teesta Setelvad, Esha Shah, Andy Stirling, Imrat Verhoeven, Esther Versluis, Shiv Visvanathan, Gerard de Vries, Ger Wa ckers, Dick Willems View full abstract»

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      Governing a Vulnerable Society: Toward a Precaution-Based Approach

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Classical Risk Approach, Challenges to the Classical Risk Approach, Accommodating Uncertainty: Amending the Classical Risk Approach, Toward a New Precaution-Based Approach, The Dynamics of Uncertainty and Risk, Changing the Perspective: From Outcome Responsibility to Obligation Responsibility, Governing a Vulnerable Society: Putting the Precaution-based Approach into Practice, Conclusion, Notes View full abstract»

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      Regulating Risks by Rules: Compliance and Negotiated Drift in the Dutch Chemical Industry under the Seveso Regime

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Seveso Regime, Implementing the Seveso II Directive in the Netherlands, Compliance and Drift under the Dutch Seveso Regime, Conclusions: From Regulating Risks to the Governance of Vulnerability, Appendix 12.1, Notes View full abstract»

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      Dealing with Vulnerability: Balancing Prevention with Resilience as a Method of Governance

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Prevention and Vulnerability, Governance of Vulnerability: Risk and Resilience, Resilience in Medicine, Pros and Cons of a Resilience Approach in Medicine, Practical Consequences of a Salutogenic Approach to Vulnerability Governance within Medicine, Notes View full abstract»

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      A Pragmatist Approach to the Governance of Vulnerability

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Pragmatist Ethics, Imagining the Future, Reconstructive Thinking, Conclusion, Notes View full abstract»

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      From Sustainability to Transformation: Dynamics and Diversity in Reflexive Governance of Vulnerability

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: From “Broadening Out” Appraisal to “Opening Up” Commitments, Agency and Temporality in Sustainable Reduction of Vulnerability, Vulnerability and Strategic Diversity, Power and the Framing of Vulnerabilities in Technological Cultures, Conclusions: Toward Reflexive Governance of Technological Vulnerability View full abstract»

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      References

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping mechanisms may yield a more flexible and resilient society. This book investigates vulnerability, in both its negative and positive aspects, in technological cultures. The contributors argue that viewing risk in terms of vulnerability offers a novel approach to understanding the risks and benefits of science and technology. Such an approach broadens conventional risk analysis by connecting to issues of justice, solidarity, and livelihood, and enabling comparisons between the global north and south. The book explores case studies that range from agricultural practices in India to neonatal intensive care medicine in Western hospitals; these cases, spanning the issues addressed in the book, illustrate what vulnerability is and does. The book offers conceptual frameworks for empirical description and analysis of vulnerability that elucidate its ambiguity, context dependence, and constructed nature. Finally, the book addresses the implications of these analyses for the governance of vulnerability, proposing a more reflexive way of dealing with vulnerability in technological cultures.ContributorsMarjolein van Asselt, Martin Boeckhout, Wiebe Bijker, Tessa Fox, Stephen Healy, Anique Hommels, Sheila Jasanoff,Jozef Keulartz, Jessica Mesman, Ger Palmboom, C. Shambu Prasad, Julia Quartz, Johan M. Sanne, Maartje Schermer, Teesta Setelvad, Esha Shah, Andy Stirling, Imrat Verhoeven, Esther Versluis, Shiv Visvanathan, Gerard de Vries, Ger Wa ckers, Dick Willems View full abstract»

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      Index

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping mechanisms may yield a more flexible and resilient society. This book investigates vulnerability, in both its negative and positive aspects, in technological cultures. The contributors argue that viewing risk in terms of vulnerability offers a novel approach to understanding the risks and benefits of science and technology. Such an approach broadens conventional risk analysis by connecting to issues of justice, solidarity, and livelihood, and enabling comparisons between the global north and south. The book explores case studies that range from agricultural practices in India to neonatal intensive care medicine in Western hospitals; these cases, spanning the issues addressed in the book, illustrate what vulnerability is and does. The book offers conceptual frameworks for empirical description and analysis of vulnerability that elucidate its ambiguity, context dependence, and constructed nature. Finally, the book addresses the implications of these analyses for the governance of vulnerability, proposing a more reflexive way of dealing with vulnerability in technological cultures.ContributorsMarjolein van Asselt, Martin Boeckhout, Wiebe Bijker, Tessa Fox, Stephen Healy, Anique Hommels, Sheila Jasanoff,Jozef Keulartz, Jessica Mesman, Ger Palmboom, C. Shambu Prasad, Julia Quartz, Johan M. Sanne, Maartje Schermer, Teesta Setelvad, Esha Shah, Andy Stirling, Imrat Verhoeven, Esther Versluis, Shiv Visvanathan, Gerard de Vries, Ger Wa ckers, Dick Willems View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Back Matter

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Novel technologies and scientific advancements offer not only opportunities but risks. Technological systems are vulnerable to human error and technical malfunctioning that have far-reaching consequences: one flipped switch can cause a cascading power failure across a networked electric grid. Yet, once addressed, vulnerability accompanied by coping mechanisms may yield a more flexible and resilient society. This book investigates vulnerability, in both its negative and positive aspects, in technological cultures. The contributors argue that viewing risk in terms of vulnerability offers a novel approach to understanding the risks and benefits of science and technology. Such an approach broadens conventional risk analysis by connecting to issues of justice, solidarity, and livelihood, and enabling comparisons between the global north and south. The book explores case studies that range from agricultural practices in India to neonatal intensive care medicine in Western hospitals; these cases, spanning the issues addressed in the book, illustrate what vulnerability is and does. The book offers conceptual frameworks for empirical description and analysis of vulnerability that elucidate its ambiguity, context dependence, and constructed nature. Finally, the book addresses the implications of these analyses for the governance of vulnerability, proposing a more reflexive way of dealing with vulnerability in technological cultures.ContributorsMarjolein van Asselt, Martin Boeckhout, Wiebe Bijker, Tessa Fox, Stephen Healy, Anique Hommels, Sheila Jasanoff,Jozef Keulartz, Jessica Mesman, Ger Palmboom, C. Shambu Prasad, Julia Quartz, Johan M. Sanne, Maartje Schermer, Teesta Setelvad, Esha Shah, Andy Stirling, Imrat Verhoeven, Esther Versluis, Shiv Visvanathan, Gerard de Vries, Ger Wa ckers, Dick Willems View full abstract»