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Q-Studies | Master | Seminar | Mi., 16:30 - 18:00 | Start: 11/4/2012

The brief history of the 21st century appears as a history of disasters. Tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, pandemics, famine, terror, wars, cyber attacks, infrastructural breakdowns, financial crisis and state failures appear to pose ever more daring challenges. The world, it seems, lives in a permanent state of emergency. In media, popular fiction, scientific reports and government policy the world is portrayed as increasingly dangerous and volatile.

Somewhere between resignation and the belief to control risks a ‘new language of preparedness’ (Amin) is emerging. Resilience has become the keyword in this new language. Taken from the natural and complexity sciences it is a shorthand for the ability of complex ecologies to resist, absorb and adapt to shocks. This seminar traces the scientific roots of resilience and explores its consequences for the evolution of organizations, cities, and societies.

Debates
Vulnerability: The social construction of risks
Resilience: The ability of bouncing back

Principles
High-reliability systems: Learning from fire brigades?
Organizational slack: Innovation at Google
Redundancy: The case of the electric grid
Ambiguity: Contradiction as resource of science
Complex adaptive systems: Cities as adaptive ecologies