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PhD Defense | Colin Glesner | Safety and security in and through practice: tensions at the interface | ULiège

03 February '22

Name: Colin Glesner

Date: February 3, 2022 

Time: 15h30 - 17h30

This PhD defense will be streamed via this link.

Safety and security in and through practice: tensions at the interface

This thesis investigates how organizations and societies protect against various dangers. Specifically, it focuses on security (malevolent) and safety (non-malevolent) related hazards and examines the relationships between safety and security through two case studies, namely an ethnographic inquiry within a nuclear research center (NRC) and a fieldwork on emergency management (EM) in Belgium. Opting for heuristics from Science and Technology Studies (STS), this thesis examines what roles play materialities in enacting the networks of safety and security. This study shows how tensions between safety and security arise at the interface of these two networks. Analyzing the tensions, this research also shows how they are rooted in three paradoxes which correspond to antagonistic principles respectively advocated by safety or security, namely, facilitation of movement vs. restriction of movement, confidentiality vs. transparency and trust vs. distrust. Based on this analysis, this thesis demonstrates that, safety and security paradoxical tensions cannot be avoided through the integration of the two domains but need to be articulated in order to express their generative potential. To do so, it conceptualizes and proposes the setting up of tension venues which can be understood as spaces where actors managing safety and security meet, discuss around tensions and their roots in order to find innovative ways to deal with them.



  • Catherine Fallon (ULiège)

SCK CEN mentors:

  • Robbe Geysmans (SCK CEN)

  • Catrinel Turcanu (SCK CEN)


Click here for a list of obtained PhD degrees.


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