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Official Truth, Applied Deconstruction and Post-Inquiry Sensemaking in the Mull of Kintyre Helicopter Crash

Mueller, F.; Whittle, A.; Addison, S.

Official Truth, Applied Deconstruction and Post-Inquiry Sensemaking in the Mull of Kintyre Helicopter Crash Thumbnail


Authors

A. Whittle

S. Addison



Abstract

On 2nd June 1994, an RAF Chinook helicopter crashed into the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland, killing all crew members and intelligence personnel onboard. In this paper, we analyse the 17- year campaign to set aside the finding of gross negligence against the two pilots. Existing literature has tended to focus on sensemaking during the inquiries that typically follow an accident, crisis, or disaster. However, we have a more limited understanding of the postinquiry sensemaking occurring after an inquiry has published its findings. Drawing insights from the sociology of science and sociology of knowledge, we conceptualise postinquiry sensemaking as three phases involving a ‘black box’ being constructed and closed, reopened and over-turned. We propose the concept of ‘applied deconstruction’ to make sense of the latter two phases. We identify the components of the ‘engine of applied deconstruction’, namely: animated actors who seek to ‘open the black box’; the building of a coalition that spans institutional sites of power; activities of discrediting the official version and crediting alternative versions; and activities of ‘lamination’ which build successive ‘layers’ of doubt. We conclude by discussing the implications arising from our case for advancing the understanding of post-inquiry sensemaking.

Citation

Mueller, F., Whittle, A., & Addison, S. (2022). Official Truth, Applied Deconstruction and Post-Inquiry Sensemaking in the Mull of Kintyre Helicopter Crash. Human Relations, https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267221082881

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 9, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 1, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jan 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 27, 2022
Journal Human Relations
Print ISSN 0018-7267
Electronic ISSN 1741-282X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267221082881
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1215740

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