Seminar - Enhancing Sociotechnical Resilience: Risk and Society in the Technological World
We live in a vulnerable world. Natural disasters such as tsunami, earthquakes, floods, volcano eruption, are frequent happenings that take lives and cause profound damages to socio-economic systems. Impacts of these disasters are augmented by our failure to build strong foundations in the artificial environment that our modern society has created using scientific technology. Nuclear meltdowns, transportation accidents, high-rise building collapses, and acts of terrorism are some of the myriad examples that only indicate vulnerability of sociotechnical systems we have created. What we need to at this critical moment are alternative methods and approaches that enable us to build sociotechnical systems that are safer, more secure, and sustainable.
Using insights from Science and Technology Studies (STS) scholarship, this presentation discusses the notion of “sociotechnical resilience” as a framework to comprehend the vulnerability of complex sociotechnical systems. Sociotechnical resilience is defined as the ability of complex sociotechnical system to withstand shock and crisis and to bounce back in the event of natural or man-made disaster. Combining STS and resilience studies, this presentation emphasizes the necessity for the design of sociotechnical systems to be arranged in such a way that does not depart social elements from technical elements, for both are inextricably intertwined, thus equally defining the level of resilience of the systems.
Sulfikar Amir completed a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Division of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University where he teaches courses on sociology of science and technology, sociology of risk, and global problems. He is working on several research projects, including nuclear politics in Asia and the sociotechnical aspects of underwater infrastructure in Singapore.
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