Globalizing the local in the SilkAir MI 185 crash investigation

Kyle Mattson


The author applies A. Ong's 2005 approach to "global assemblages" from social anthropology theory, Surma's 2013 approach to an ethics of care, and T. Adorno's theory of negative dialectic (1973/1983) to certain local jurisdictional assemblages that, when empowered by international agreement, globalize "the local" in problematic ways. Focusing on the 1997 SilkAir MI 185 crash in Indonesia, the author pursues Bakhtin's theory of multi-vocality, or “heteroglossia” (1981), and Slack, Miller, & Doak's articulation theory of communication (1993) to make sense of tensions across expert opinion that a problematically empowered “local”—in the case examined, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC)—brought to the formal international airline crash investigation report. Claiming that professional communication scholarship has yet to examine ethical hazards that in instances when the local becomes globalized, the author theorizes “counter assemblages” as potentially corrective organizational and communal arrangements across g/local contexts of international, national, and communal significance.


airline crash investigations; assemblages: local, global, jurisdictional; counter assemblages; professional communication; technical reports; ethics

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