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Journal Articles Safety Science Year : 2017

An essay : Societal safety and the global 1, 2, 3


The essay’s purpose is to explore the relation between societal safety and the global. It describes some of the complexities of our contemporary situation. Conceptualising the global is now at the heart of many of current problems and challenges, not least of which is safety. When confronting safety with the category of the global over the past 30 years from the point of view of large scale threats, one can differentiate three consecutive conceptualisations of types of risks for the purposes of the essay: socio-technological risks (1), systemic risks (2) and existential risks (3). These risk types, in turn, can be associated historically with the concepts of high-risk systems (1′), globalisation (2′), and the anthropocene and transhumanism (3′). The categories overlap and do not historically replace each other but are embedded in a nested hierarchy of issues. For each successive type of risk, the notion of the global expends into three different meanings, moving (in terms to be defined) from the technosocio-sphere (global1), to what can be termed the bio-eco-geo-techno-socio sphere (global2) and finally, to the novel and emerging amalgam, a cosmo-bio-eco-geo-techno-socio2 sphere (global3). It is argued that our vision of societal safety must be understood through an appreciation of how these three different layers of issues of the global are interwoven, how this global challenges the management and governance of safety, and why in this light our contemporary situation is now one of generalised complexity.
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Dates and versions

ineris-01853120 , version 1 (02-08-2018)



Jean-Christophe Le Coze. An essay : Societal safety and the global 1, 2, 3. Safety Science, 2017, Accepté. ⟨10.1016/j.ssci.2017.09.008⟩. ⟨ineris-01853120⟩


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