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Journal Articles Safety Science Year : 2012

Towards a constructivist program in safety


This paper delves into the relationship between safety and constructivism. In the past 30 years, the constructivist discourse has become very popular but also controversial as it challenges some key categories associated with modernity, such as reason, objectivity, truth and reality. In the safety literature, several works advocate its use. This paper has three objectives. The first one is to reveal the existence of a constructivist discourse in the field of safety. It does this by bringing together scattered pieces of works from different authors who endorse and apply to various topics a position labelled as constructivist. However, and that is the paper's second objective; it demonstrates that there is not only one constructivism, but several. In order to ground this contention, the paper proceeds with a multidisciplinary and historical approach. It is then argued that it is more appropriate not to conflate this diversity of constructivisms. The paper looks for a solution to this problem by providing a classification based on two groups of parameters: mild/strong and cognitive/social, defining four types. This step serves the third objective which consists in initiating a multifaceted constructivist program in safety composed of heterogeneous but related empirical and theoretical areas of investigations.

Dates and versions

ineris-00963383 , version 1 (21-03-2014)



Jean-Christophe Le Coze. Towards a constructivist program in safety. Safety Science, 2012, 50, pp.1873-1887. ⟨10.1016/j.ssci.2012.03.019⟩. ⟨ineris-00963383⟩


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