Actor-network theory for safety science: Reassembling social and technical elements

Main Article Content

Caroline Bastos Capaverde
Lucas Fogaça
Éder Henriqson


Recent studies suggest challenges in the development of Safety Science, being, the broadening of methodological perspectives for the comprehension of sociotechnical work, incentives so that the effects of complexity can be analyzed with greater depth and, for safety research to become politically oriented in its models. This study explores contributions of Actor-Network Theory as a methodological resource to reassemble human and non-human elements in safety science research, especially when we consider the dynamic reality, the variability and uncertainty that are characteristic of complex sociotechnical systems. In the light of the theoretical elements of the Actor-Network Theory, such as controversies, political ontologies, enactment, we discuss possibilities to the cartography of controversies in safety science studies. The discussion contributes, thus, with new methodological connections to research in safety science, exploring associations and new positions among different realities in the field.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

How to Cite
CAPAVERDE, C. B.; FOGAÇA, L.; HENRIQSON, Éder. Actor-network theory for safety science: Reassembling social and technical elements . RAE - Revista de Administracao de Empresas , [S. l.], v. 63, n. 3, p. e2021–0530, 2023. DOI: 10.1590/S0034-759020230302. Disponível em: Acesso em: 16 apr. 2024.


Álvarez-Santos, J., Miguel-Dávila, J. Á., Herrera, L., & Nieto, M. (2018). Safety management system in TQM environments. Safety Science, 101, 135-143.

Amalberti, R. (2001). The paradoxes of almost totally safe transportation systems. Safety Science, 37(2-3), 109-126.

Amalberti, R. (2013). The Demand for Safety and Its Paradoxes. In Navigating safety: Necessary compromises and trade-offs - theory and practice (1st ed., pp. 1–18). Springer.

Amalberti, R, Auroy, Y., Berwick, D., & Barach, P. (2005). Five system barriers to achieving ultrasafe health care. Annals of Internal Medicine, 142(9), 756-764.

Amir, S., & Kant, V. (2018). Sociotechnical resilience: A preliminary concept. Risk Analysis, 38(1), 8-16.

Bergström, J., & Dekker, S. (2019). The 2010s and onward: Resilience engineering. In Foundations of Safety Science (pp. 391-429). Routledge.

Bussular, C. Z., Burtet, C. G., & Antonello, C. S. (2019). The actor-network theory as a method in the analysis of Samarco disaster in Brazil. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 15(2), 176-191.

Callon, M. (1986). The sociology of an actor-network: The case of the electric vehicle. In Mapping the dynamics of science and technology (pp. 19-34). Palgrave Macmillan.

Callon, M. (2008). Entrevista com Michel Callon: dos estudos de laboratório aos estudos de coletivos heterogêneos, passando pelos gerenciamentos econômicos. Sociologias, 302-321

Camillis, P. K. D., & Antonello, C. S. (2016, Janeiro/Março). Da translação para o enactar: Contribuições da Teoria Ator-Rede para a abordagem processual das organizações. Cadernos EBAPE.BR, 14(1), 61-82.

Camillis, P. K. D., Bussular, C. Z., & Antonello, C. S. (2016). A agência a partir da Teoria Ator-Rede: Reflexões e contribuições para as pesquisas em administração. Organizações & Sociedade, 23(76), 73-91.

Cooper, R. (1976). The open field. Human relations, 29(11), 999-1017.

Cooper, R. G. (1992). The NewProd system: The industry experience. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 9(2), 113-127.

Cooper, R. (2007). Organs of process: Rethinking human organization. Organization Studies, 28(10), 10.1177/0170840607076587

Corcuff, P. (1995). Quand le terrain prend la parole... Éléments de sociologie réflexive. L'homme et la société, 115(1), 61-73. Recuperado de

Czarniawska, B., & Hernes, T. (2020). Actor-network theory and organizing. Studentlitteratur.

Czarniawska, B. (2013). Organizations as obstacles to organizing. In Organization and organizing (pp. 27-46). Routledge.

Dekker, S., Cilliers, P., & Hofmeyr, J. H. (2011). The complexity of failure: Implications of complexity theory for safety investigations. Safety science, 49(6), 939-945.


Dekker, S. (2014a). Safety differently: Human factors for a new era. CRC Press.

Dekker, S. (2014b). The bureaucratization of safety. Safety Science, 70, 348-357.

Dekker, S. (2018). The safety anarchist. Routledge.

Dekker, S. (2019). Foundations of safety science: A century of understanding accidents and disasters. CRC Press.

Dekker, S. (2021). Compliance Capitalism: How Free Markets Have Led to Unfree, Overregulated Workers. Routledge.

Farjoun, M. (2010). Beyond dualism: Stability and change as a duality. Academy of management review, 35(2), 202-225.

Grote, G. (2012). Safety management in different high-risk domains: All the same? Safety Science, 50(10), 1983-1992.

Haavik, T. K. (2014). On the ontology of safety. Safety Science, 67, 37-43.

Haavik, T. K. (2021, February). Debates and politics in safety science. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 210, 107547.

Hale, A., & Borys, D. (2013a). Working to rule, or working safely? Part 1: A state of the art review. Safety Science, 55, 207-221.

Hale, A., & Borys, D. (2013b). Working to rule or working safely? Part 2: The management of safety rules and procedures. Safety Science, 55, 222-231.

Hollnagel, E., Pariès, J., Woods, D. D. D., & Wreathall, J. J. (2011). Resilience engineering in practice. In Ashgate Studies in Resilence Engineering. (1st ed.). Ashgate.

Hollnagel, E., & Woods, D. D. (1983). Cognitive systems engineering: New wine in new bottles. International Journal of Man-machine Studies, 18(6), 583-600.

Hopkins, A. (2012). Disastrous decisions. CCH.

Hopkins, A., & Maslen, S. (2015). Risky rewards: How company bonuses affect safety. Ashgate Publishing Company.

Hussenot, A. (2014). Analyzing organization through disagreements: The concept of managerial controversy. Journal of Organizational Change Management.

LaPorte, T. R., & Consolini, P. M. (1991). Working in practice but not in theory: theoretical challenges of" high-reliability organizations". Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory: J-PART, 1(1), 19-48. Recuperado de

Latour, B., & Woolgar, S. (1979). Laboratory life: The construction of scientific facts. (1st ed.). Princeton University Press.

Latour, B. (1997). Trains of thoughts-Piaget, Formalism and the Fifth Dimension. Common Knowledge, 6(3), 170-191.

Latour, B. (2000). Ciência em ação: Como seguir cientistas e engenheiros sociedade afora. Unesp.

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford University Press.

Law, J. (1999). After ANT: Complexity, naming and topology. The Sociological Review, 47(S1), 1-14.

Law, J. (2004). After method: Mess in social science research. Psychology Press.

Law, J. (2009). Actor network theory and material semiotics. The new Blackwell companion to social theory, 3, 141-158.

Law, J. (2009). Actor network theory and material semiotics. In B. S. Turner (Ed.), The new Blackwell companion to social theory (pp. 141–158). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Law, J., & Urry, J. (2004). Enacting the social. Economy and Society, 33(3), 390-410.

Le Coze, J. C. (2012). Towards a constructivist program in safety. Safety science, 50(9), 1873-1887.

Le Coze, J. C. (2013). New models for new times. An anti-dualist move. Safety science, 59, 200-218.

Le Coze, J. C. (2014). The foundations of safety science. Safety Science, 67, 1-5.

Le Coze, J. C., & Pettersen, K. (2008, October). Is resilience engineering realist or constructivist?. In 3. Resilience Engineering Symposium (pp. 175-184). École des Mines de Paris. Paris.

Lee, N., & Brown, S. (1994). Otherness and the actor network: the undiscovered continent. American Behavioral Scientist, 37(6), 772-790.

Leveson, N. G. (2003, August). A new approach to hazard analysis for complex systems. In International Conference of the System Safety Society. Ottawa, Ontario, Canadá.

Masys, A. J. (2012). The emergent nature of risk as a product of ‘heterogeneous engineering’: A relational analysis of oil and gas industry safety culture. In Innovative thinking in risk, crisis, and disaster management (pp. 59-85) (1 st ed.). Gower Publishing Limited.

Mol, A. (1999). Ontological politics: A word and some questions. The Sociological Review, 47(1_suppl), 74-89.

Mol, A. (2002). The body multiple: Ontological medical practice. Duke University Press.

Moraes, R. L., Andion, C., & Pinho, J. L. (2017). Cartografia das controvérsias na arena pública da corrupção eleitoral no Brasil. Cadernos EBAPE. BR, 15(4), 846-876.

Perrow, C. (1984). Normal accidents: Living with high risk systems. Princeton Univeristy Press.

Rasmussen, J. (1997). Risk management in a dynamic society: A modelling problem. Safety Science, 27(2-3), 183-213.

Reason, J. (1990). Human error. Cambridge University Press.

Rescher, N. (1996). Process metaphysics: An introduction to process philosophy. Suny Press.

Righi, A. W., Saurin, T. A., & Wachs, P. (2015). A systematic literature review of resilience engineering: Research areas and a research agenda proposal. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 141, 142-152.

Tureta, C., Américo, B., & Clegg, S. (2021). Controvérsias como método para ANTi-história. Revista de Administração de Empresas, 61.

Turner, B. A., & Pidgeon, N. F. (1997). Man-made disasters. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Vaughan, D. (1996). The Challenger launch decision: Risky technology, culture, and deviance at NASA. University of Chicago Press.

Venturini, T. (2010). Diving in magma: How to explore controversies with actor-network theory. Public Understanding of Science, 19(3), 258-273.

Walker, J. S. (2004). Three Mile Island: A nuclear crisis in historical perspective (Vol. 41). Univ. of California Press.

Walsham, G. (1997). Actor-network theory and IS research: current status and future prospects. Information systems and qualitative research, 466-480.

Weick, K. E., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2007). Managing the unexpected: Resilient performance in an age of uncertainty. Jossey-Bass.

Woods, D. D., & Hollnagel, E. (2006). Joint cognitive systems: Patterns in cognitive systems engineering. CRC Press.

Woods, D. D. (2018). The theory of graceful extensibility: Basic rules that govern adaptive systems. Environment Systems and Decisions, 38(4), 433-457.