Heterogeneous Engineering and the Mitigation of Fukushima and Other Complex Systems Disasters — 12/11/2013

“Whenever we start looking at a disaster we need to think of it as the failure of an “heterogeneous system” because whatever has gone wrong represents a necessarily tangled and complex network of technical relations, social relations and natural relations.”

“If we are to understand “disaster”-or more generally “complexity”-then we need to find a way of thinking that articulates the fact that “all” the relations that we’re looking at are simultaneously natural, social, and technological-We need to think about “heterogeneity”.”

“Attempts to avoid disaster are also working to generate the conditions for disaster.”

“Complex systems, coupling (tightly coupled, complex, quick; loosely coupled, simple, slow), complexity (ramified, complex; linear, simple)”

“We need to be able to talk engineering, sociology, science and economics, all at the same time, and, more or less, case by case…..”

(John Law, Center for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)


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