© 2018

The Sociotechnical Constitution of Resilience

A New Perspective on Governing Risk and Disaster

  • Sulfikar Amir
  • Sheds light on how resilience is embodied in the hybrid nature of complex sociotechnical systems

  • Explores the sociotechnical constitution of resilience by closely examining different stories and events in the North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Pacific Islands

  • Offers important insights and practical lessons to build better and comprehensive understandings of resilience


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Dissecting Resilience

  3. Disrupted Environments

  4. Informational Relations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 147-147
    2. Kurniawan Adi Saputro
      Pages 173-193
  5. Engineered Systems

  6. Urban Life

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 285-289

About this book


This book considers the concept of resilience in a global society where coping with the consequence and long term impact of crisis and disaster challenges the capacity of communities to bounce back in the event of severe disruption. Catastrophic events such as the 9.11 terrorist attack, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and the volcano eruption in Central Java entailed massive devastation on physical infrastructures, and caused significant social and economic damage. This book considers how the modern sociotechnological system facilitating human activity defines how societies survive and whether a crisis will be short-lived or prolonged. Drawing on the concept of sociotechnical resilience, this book closely examines a range of events North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. By presenting the successes and failures of sociotechnical resilience, it offers important insights and practical lessons to build better and comprehensive understandings of resilience in a real-world setting, significantly contributing to the study of disaster resilience. 


Sociotechnical Resilience Sociotechnical System and Disasters History of Disaster Reflexive Resilience Resilient Urbanism and Disaster Studies Vulnerable Infrastructures Institutional Vulnerability Hybrid Environment Disaster Expertise Risk Epistemology

Editors and affiliations

  • Sulfikar Amir
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

About the editors

Sulfikar Amir is an Associate Professor of science, technology, and society in the School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests include science and technology studies, development, globalisation, disaster, risk, resilience, and infrastructure and city studies. He is the author of 'The Technological State in Indonesia: the Co-constitution of High Technology and Authoritarian Politics'. His ongoing project explores the production of hidden vulnerability in the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. 

Bibliographic information


“How can we understand the resilience of countries, cities, nuclear reactors and infrastructures? This volume convincingly shows that resilience is both social and technical, and is produced over time rather than a system’s given property. A rich set of cases includes natural and human-made disasters. These allow the authors to analyze causes as well as recovery strategies and how to better design resilience into sociotechnical systems. This volume is obligatory reading for students of technological cultures—from Japan and Korea to the Netherlands and UK, from Singapore and Indonesia to USA and India.” (Wiebe Bijker, emeritus professor of science, technology, and society, Maastricht University, The Netherlands and author of Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change)

“Resilience (infrastructural, psychological, and so on) is of literally fateful importance, yet is such a problematic, politicized concept and process.  And especially so in late industrial, climate charged contexts.  This volume takes on these contradictions, examining the promise and perils of "resilience," and what it looks like in practice in different settings around the world. The essays are empirically rich, analytically sharp, and call for new connections between theory and practice.  Critical reading!” (Kim Fortun, professor of disaster anthropology, University of California, Irvine, USA and author of Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, and New Global Orders)

“The field of disaster management and crisis response is in the midst of revisiting the way that challenges are framed, taking on ideas about resilience that better integrate the social and technical and the physical and ecological. This volume is an astute and very timely look at this transition underway, with contributions from leading theorists and practitioners across a range of focal areas, and with intriguing conceptual as well as empirical contributions. The volume will be useful for practitioners who are eager to keep up with conceptual developments in the field, as well as scholars operating at this exciting and important research frontier.” (Bruce Goldstein, associate professor of environmental design, the University of Colorado Boulder, USA and editor of Collaborative Resilience: Moving through Crisis to Opportunity)