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Ulrich Beck - an appreciation

Ulrich Beck - an appreciation | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
openSecurity editor Robin Wilson reflects on the work of German intellectual - and frequent openDemocracy contributor - Ulrich Beck, who sadly passed away on 1 January.
Artur Alves's insight:

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The corporations still have the power—as Gramsci would say, they dominate but are no longer ‘hegemonic’—but the NGOs have the trust. That was a moral the corporate International which convenes every year at the World Economic Forum in Davos had to draw from survey evidence at one of its recent gatherings. And last year it had to focus on the inevitable corollary—that inequality is now the top item on the global political agenda. Marx’s famous internationalist slogan now sounds a bit hackneyed but ‘Cosmopolitans of the World Unite’ has something of a ring about it.

Sadly, Ulrich Beck will no longer be around to advise us on how to turn that slogan into reality. But one of his last publications, German Europe, left some salutary advice for Germany and the Europe which as economic powerhouse it now dominates. Beck debunked the old-time religion of the ‘Schwabian housewife’ chancellor, Angela Merkel—the fallacy that every eurozone member could somehow behave in the same beggar-thy-neighbour, ‘competitive’ fashion as Germany without dragging the continent into deflation, sustained debt and unending austerity. And he showed how Europe can only emerge from the crisis if Germany returns to the more modest ‘European Germany’ of the post-war period—recognising the inhuman ‘side effects’ it can have on its neighbours.

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ScienceDirect.com - Technology in Society - Learning from adverse events in the nuclear power industry: Organizational learning, policy making and normalization

"Nuclear power accidents repeatedly reveal that the industry has an incomplete understanding of the complex risks involved in its operation. Through analyzing the investigation of a nuclear power incident in Sweden in 2006, I show how the industry's learning practices shape recurrent normalization of risk regulation after such surprises. Learning is shaped through institutionalized measures of sufficiency and particular “risk objects” (e.g. human factors and safety culture) created through learning from previous events. Subsequent regulatory measures are shaped through improvement scripts associated with these risk objects. These learning practices exclude alternative conceptual perspectives to understand and address safety-critical incidents. Latent risks will therefore produce similar events in the future. The article contributes to the literature on organizational learning, policy making, sensemaking and normalization in complex systems. To improve learning from incidents and regulation in high-hazard industries, social scientists and a wider circle of stakeholders should be included in the regulatory and post-incident examination processes."

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