The Social Psychology of Risk (SPoR) is a Discipline and Worldview that takes its foundation in Socialitie, that all living and being is social. This is what Martin Buber called i-thou (https://www.maximusveritas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/iandthou.pdf). This includes relationships with persons and their ways of knowing. This means accepting and giving validity to Transdisciplinary (across disciplines) ways of knowing. Such a foundation augers well for an Ethic of Risk.
The Body of Knowledge (BoK) for SPoR is represented Semiotically because it is through Semiotics that relationships are best represented. The SPoR BoK can be downloaded here: https://spor.com.au/downloads/posters/. The SPoR BoK is articulated in a download paper from the same page. The SPoR BoK shares very little in common with a safety BoK such as the AIHS BoK. Such a BoK as issued by the AIHS is consumed with objects, propositional knowing and rationalism.
Semiotics is one of the many disciplines that SPoR takes seriously and gives validity. Similarly, for Poetics, Linguistics, Anthropology, Theology, Paralinguistics, Somatics, Mimetics, Neuropsychology etc.
The History of SPoR is best represented semiotically by mapping pathways/sources (see Figure 1. History of SPoR Map).
Figure 1. History of SPoR Map
SPoR shares little in common with the history of safety, founded in Engineering, Scientism and Behaviourism.
This means that SPoR looks at problems like risk and safety differently. And not in a sense of brand, but different as in a completely alternative ethic. For example, SPoR understands safety as a ‘Wicked Problem’. SPoR is not interested in counting, controls, hazards, policing or zero but rather the humanising of risk as if persons matter.
SPoR is interested in the unconscious just as much as what is conscious. SPoR is interested in the Collective Unconscious (from Jung) just as much as it is in the Physicality and Embodiment of meaning and purpose. To understand this balance one should ready anything by Mark Johnson, Damasio, Varela, Lakoff or Claxton. SPor is not interested in a disembodied notion of learning, locked into propositional modes of knowing that ignore Somatic reality. SPoR is not interested in brain-centrism. If knowing how to tackle risk doesn’t embrace the emotions, unconscious, embodiment, ethics and being, then it remains just a collection of concepts.
It is because of its foundations (Methodology) that SPoR has developed methods that are not grounded in traditional rationalist projections about knowing. Many of SPoR methods are visual, verbal, semiotic and experiential. One example is what SPoR calls ‘iCue Engagement’. iCue is explained very well by Nippin Anand here: https://safetyrisk.net/understanding-icue-a-visual-verbal-semiotic-method-for-tackling-risk/
or by Brian Darlington here: https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/397747389, or by Matt Thorne and Rob Long here: https://vimeo.com/777948243
iCue is only one of many methods SPoR uses to tackle risk.
None of these methods don’t undermine any traditional safety management systems but rather provide an alternative that works, is positive, constructive, practical and doable.
The important thing to remember is that SPoR does NOT approach risk from a traditional, engineering, behaviourist lens. Most of the traditional approaches to risk don’t work (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/). When SPoR critiques traditional safety and, Safety seeks to defend itself in its addiction to compliance, it makes no move away from its own concoon and security in agreed concepts.
One can get started in understanding SPoR by reading some of the books offered for free download here: https://www.humandymensions.com/shop/
SPoR is not contrary to traditional safety just for the sake of being so.
The difference is that SPoR comes to the challenges of risk from a completely different worldview than Safety.
One can’t understand a different worldview unless one engages with it and moves towards it. This requires a ‘leap of faith’ (hence the semiotic covers of all the books) and significant unlearning of much safety indoctrination. Eg. the normalisation of rationalist, engineering, behaviourist ways of knowing.
SPoR is not a conceptual idea but rather a new way of doing in tackling risk.
This journey often starts by reading differently, exploring Transdisciplinary reading. Some of this is discussed in books like Envisioning Risk, Seeing, Vision and Meaning in Risk (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/envisioning-risk-seeing-vision-and-meaning-in-risk/). Or by reading blogs on this web site.
SPoR envisions risk differently and certainly has absolutely no interest in the brutalism of zero vision. Zero is archetypically and symbolically the antithesis of SPoR. Zero represents all that is wrong with safety. Zero (the global mantra for safety) is the symbol for counting, numerics, metrics and the delusions of measurement and control (https://safetyrisk.net/the-measurement-mindset-in-safety/).
In many ways, if one leaps at SPoR one moves away from safety and zero. Such a move, is a move towards learning in a practical, positive, constructive approach to risk that works.
Risk iCue Overview.mp4 from CLLR on Vimeo.
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