The collapse of buildings in cities in Ghana: Reasoning beyond 'scientism'

Boateng, G 2016, 'The collapse of buildings in cities in Ghana: Reasoning beyond 'scientism'', in M. Chou (ed.) Proceedings of the 2016 Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 28 November - 1 December 216, pp. 7-12.

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title The collapse of buildings in cities in Ghana: Reasoning beyond 'scientism'
Author(s) Boateng, G
Year 2016
Conference name Cities and Successful Societies
Conference location Melbourne, Australia
Conference dates 28 November - 1 December 216
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 2016 Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference
Editor(s) M. Chou
Publisher The Australian Sociological Association
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Start page 7
End page 12
Total pages 6
Abstract In the event of building collapse, overwhelmed by the massive human lives and achievements destroyed, the conversation usually tends towards unravelling the immediate causes. High emphasis is placed on deficiencies in design, construction materials and inadequate consideration of external events - that is to say, failure to comply with and/or enforce structural/architectural safety requirements. The preoccupation here is with unravelling the well-structured physical/technical defect defined and revealed by the collapse. This way of approaching building collapse is borne out of the conception of the building structure as an assemblage of physical materials based on architectural/engineering specifications, and is undergirded by the notion of 'scientism'-the view that, 'natural science' is the only valid way of seeking knowledge in any field. This paper argues that the building structure is a creation not merely of structural integrity, but socio-economic and even cultural means. It therefore unpacks the scientistic conceptualization of building collapse and makes a case for a multi-layer level of analysis, which places measures to address building failures within a comprehensive understanding of the vulnerabilities they are supposed to reduce. The setting of the study is Ghana, a West African country, whose cities are experiencing interminable incidents of building collapse.
Subjects Urban Sociology and Community Studies
Copyright notice © 2016 TASA
ISBN 9780646964805
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