Emancipating Structures and Cognitive Styles

Karen A. Cerulo

in Never Saw It Coming

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780226100326
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226100296 | DOI:
Emancipating Structures and Cognitive Styles

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This chapter investigates the role of emancipating structures in the development of negative asymmetry. It compares high-profile cases involving worst-case scenarios including the SARS outbreak of 2003, the Y2K threat of 2000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's handling of the “Phoenix memo” in 2001, and the Challenger disaster of 1986. The analysis reveals that certain structures play a pivotal role in nurturing the cognitive deviance needed to anticipate and avoid disaster. This chapter shows how emancipating structures can loosen the hold of dominant cultural practices and free groups and communities to pursue both unanticipated problems and creative solutions.

Keywords: emancipating structures; negative asymmetry; worst-case scenarios; SARS outbreak; Y2K; Phoenix memo; Challenger disaster; cultural practices

Chapter.  15407 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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