Culture Silences in Safety – Socialitie

Culture Silences in Safety – Socialitie

imageOne of the biggest gaps in the way amateur safety defines culture is a complete absence of any discussion of socialitie.

It was Meyer, Streeck and Jordan (2017 – Intercorporeality, Emerging Socialities in Interaction) who coined this term. Socialitie refers to the embodied nature of human social relations and captures the way that all human being is interaffected and intercoporeal.

Human persons are oriented to the world socially, this is what Martin Buber called i-thou ( ). There is no such thing as an individual, we are all individuals-in-relation. This is why we use the hyphen so often in SPoR, because it is a connecting form of punctuation that denotes interaffectivity, resonance and interconnectivity ( ).

One of the most profound weaknesses in the safety definition of culture is the idea that culture is about behavior, systems and individuals-in-relation. Even in incident investigations in safety there is no sense of a socially comprehensive culture that forms part of how events are manufactured and created.

Like all ritualistic communities, the safety industry contains its rules, interpretations, mythologies, symbols, artefacts, specialised vocabulary, a community of adherents who are admitted to the arcane arts, levels of indoctrination, and gatekeepers. Safety does have culture. And not a healthy culture at that indeed, after watching global zero propaganda ( you quickly realis it’s a cult ( ).

While some societies relate ritual to the appeasement of gods and spirits, in science and engineering it is through ritual that Safety serves to therapeutically appease philosophical/ideological needs. Competition between interpretations is not unlike competition between clan gods, trying to achieve cultural dominance.

Once we realise that all things, not just organising and groups, are socially interconnected and interaffected ( ) we see a much bigger picture and worldview. We then understand that mental health, psychological injury and trauma are social challenges and that resilience is a social activity.

This idea that individuals pick themselves up by their own bootlaces following distress, PTSI or trauma is delusional nonsense ( Without a holistic approach to risk and culture, it is not likely that common strategies thrust upon people will work ( ).

In Socialitie we don’t just focus on Groupspace or on individuals but we focus on the in-between, what happens between persons and between groups. This is why the hyphen is such a strong feature of SPoR. We focus on following-leading in risk ( ) not just on leadership. We focus on the as-if in risk not just the now. We focus on the if-then in risk not just desires or ambitious expectations or wishes. We focus on the now-but-not-yet, and all things that interconnect risk so that we seek by-products and trade-offs in social organising.

Unless we view culture through the lens of complex interconnectivity and Socialitie, it will always just remain about individual behaviours in safety and nothing will change.

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