Deconstruction and Reconstruction for Safety
The discipline of Social Psychology has a unique evolution that emerges out of the disciplines of: Critical Theory, Cultural Theory, Semiotics, Poetics, Social Politics, Ethics, Post-Structuralism, Neo-Marxism, Education, Dialectics, Discourse Analysis, Feminist Discourse, Anthropology, Annals History, Theology, Philosophy, Ethnography and Deconstruction. Some of these disciplines are mapped at Figure One. Evolution of Social Psychology.
Figure One. Evolution of Social Psychology.
None of these disciplines (or any of their sub-sets) have any representation globally in the discipline of safety.
The dominant disciplines that fostered the emergence of Safety are Engineering and Science. More so, only the Behaviourist frames of these disciplines moved in to form the discipline of Safety. Behavioural Based Safety (BBS) remains one of the enduring darlings (myths) of this industry.
This idea of ‘framing’ is most important. Framing is a dynamic that shapes a paradigm (worldview/discipline), what is in and what is out. One can observe this in the discourse of the AIHS BoK (https://safetyrisk.net/the-politics-of-safety-legitimization/ ). Transdisciplinarity seeks to translate and traverse across ‘frames’, what Ashhurst calls ‘boundary objects’ (https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/202932 ), for the purpose of learning.
Transdisciplinarity requires a letting go of one’s paradigm in order to move to another paradigm. This requires non-compliance to the frame one has been formed by in order to countenance the validity of another. This is the movement required for learning.
Safety under the rubric of compliance and zero, has no foundation with which to traverse frames or boundaries. This is why it recycles behaviourist myths in various forms and names them as some kind of new view.
In the discipline of Social Psychology the principles of Deconstruction and Reconstruction are foundational. This means that an ethical good is realized through the pulling apart of a paradigm and in Reconstruction posing an alternative. For those unfamiliar with the discipline of Critical and Cultural Theory this is just viewed as negativity/non-compliance. Most of the criticism thrown at SPoR takes on the flavor of this view. Critical thinking is deemed negativity and this creates blindness to possibilities of perceiving Reconstruction. So back to systems, factors, controls, hazards, numeric, counting and policing.
The goal of Deconstruction and Reconstruction is: learning and maturity, wisdom and personhood.
If you want to learn about the positives of the Social Psychology of Risk (SPoR) there is ample opportunity, five of the ten books published are for free download: https://www.humandymensions.com/shop/
How convenient to demonize any criticism of safety to ensure no learning. Zero is the archetype of this view. There can be no tolerance in Zero because zero frames its reality by a number. Only conformity to the symbolic power of zero can be countenanced in safety. Criticism of zero is deemed anti-safety, reinforced by nonsense statements and beliefs such as: ‘how many injuries do you want to day?’ ‘All accidents are preventable’ and ‘safety is a choice you make’. Any deconstruction of such safety myths is deemed anti-safety. Such is the cultural power of the foundation of safety – compliance.
In SPoR there is much to learn, if one is prepared to step away from this frame of compliance and zero. If one is seeking something more ethical than brutalism and more humanising in how one can tackle risk, there is plenty of positive support. You can download one of the free books on offer: https://www.humandymensions.com/shop/ SPoR doesn’t just deconstruct things but offers a reconstructive alternative that works (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/).