Saturday, October 13, 2007

New blog on "Safety" from IAS in Lancaster

I have put a comment into an academic blog

Not sure if this is off topic already but I was interested to find this blog as I contributed to the earlier research project on the Knowledge Economy. I am interested in quality systems in practice and how this relates to ideas about learning organisations.

My guess is that most academics are interested in language, so what is meant by "safety" or "quality" is more interesting than whether defects or danger actually exist.

So my idea for a film is a conference introducing the Centre for Performativity Studies. In the openening scene the police turn up suddenly and the organisers are arrested. It turns out that all the credit cards used to book for the event have had unauthorised charges and £137,000 has gone through an identified account. A claim about "identity theft" through a wifi network is made but there is disputed evidence.

Quite what happens next I don't know, but at least things start with a clearcut problem situation.


Professor Cindy Weber introduced the key questions for the program: how is safe living conceived today?


Dr James Wilsdon

The key question is: what is being smuggled in under the rubric of security, safety and protection? This does not mean turning to conspiracy theory as Adam Curtis, for instance, argues. How is security, safety and protection used to drive through policy decisions? From the perspective of science and innovation policy, there is a tendency to actually shut down debates even in the guise of opening up debate. The use of notion of risk is a good example since it often narrows debate down. The challenge of Chindia is also being used to drive policy decisions. We need to be suspicious and alert to these rhetorics of closure.


Professor Michael Dillon (Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University) looked to some of the wider conceptual issues to begin with. In a sense, we have discussed an architecture of security as an imaginary. It is a dominant imaginary.

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