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‘Brexit’, Risk and Culture – A Comment on its Uses and Abuses

The current discussion in the UK about ‘Brexit’ illustrates how important decisions about the future are routinely framed in terms of risk. It also illustrates recognition of how – narrowly framed – risk is utilised instrumentally, but not effectively so. As Mary Douglas pointed out in her ‘cultural’ perspective, risk today is often no more than a ‘resource’ deployed as a proxy for danger. But it fails to engage with how perceptions of risk are really determined by our values and world view, something which even the scariest of numbers do not speak to.

Faced with the uncertain future outcomes of a ‘Brexit’, both sides attempt to turn these into tangible risks, complete with implausibly precise calculations. The ‘Leave’ campaign projected the prospect of the UK falling victim to Turkey joining the EU, adding a further 1 million immigrants to the population. They added that this was based upon the fact of Turkey’s higher birth rate, with the additional edge of worryingly higher gun ownership and criminality among Turkish citizens.[i] Meanwhile the ‘Stay’ campaign highlights the greater risk of economic problems should we leave, producing a succession of large numbers to demonstrate that the UK will suffer from leaving the European Union, in jobs and trade. Chancellor George Osborne warned that he would have to fill a £30bn black hole in the public finances, for example. This follows a pattern of framing other contemporary uncertainties such as obesity as concrete risks, in this case in terms of their projected cost to the NHS. Meta risks like obesity, terrorism and climate change have then competed with each other for policy attention, though generally limited public impact.

A more unusual characteristic of the campaign is how [...]

By |August 3rd, 2016|Thought Pieces|Comments Off on ‘Brexit’, Risk and Culture – A Comment on its Uses and Abuses|

Risk perception – the visible and invisible risks – the risk discourse from a multidisciplinary perspective

Charlotte Fabiansson

College of Arts, Victoria University, Melbourne Australia,

Email: [email protected]

Attitudes, behaviours and actions are habitually influenced by religious beliefs and a person’s social and cultural milieu. A circumstance that is often forgotten when scientific experts and governments promote guidelines for health and wellbeing. Interconnections between technical aspects and social context are largely overlooked within the natural sciences, but so too are people in acknowledging public health risks.

Our modern complex society, where the source of products and the ingredients in processed food are obscure for both a layperson and an expert, social context and sociological risk analysis bridge the gap between expert knowledge and people’s perception of risks. The socio-cultural, risk society and governmentality risk discourses are pertinent in analysing everyday activities, how perception of wellbeing is viewed within a socio-cultural framework, but also how the social and physical environment influence people in adapting to their own social and cultural everyday life.

Risks regarding personal health are increasing not only with a rising obese and overweight global population, but also in harmful effects of process-induced contaminants or dangerous substitution of popular food supplement ingredients.

Excess body weight is a major individual, societal and economic problem of global significance; it is a highly visible and it is a pertinent socio-cultural risk issue (Douglas 1982; Wildavsky and Dake 1990). Even if the increase in the incidences of obesity has levelled in some parts of the world, others have just started the risk trajectory. Excessive weight gain is a slow process, which has diverse and multifactorial health consequences. Obesity places huge financial burdens on governments and individuals and it is estimated to account for up to 21 per cent of the total health care costs in some developed countries (Cawley and [...]

By |June 27th, 2016|Thought Pieces|Comments Off on Risk perception – the visible and invisible risks – the risk discourse from a multidisciplinary perspective|

Society for Risk Analysis, SRA-E Conference, University of Bath, 20th-22nd June 2016

The conference title is ‘Understanding Risk: From Theory to Application in Policy and Practice. Full details are viewable at:

http://www.sraeurope.org/home.aspx?pag=1565

By |June 27th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Society for Risk Analysis, SRA-E Conference, University of Bath, 20th-22nd June 2016|

Call for Papers for 2017 Annual Health, Risk & Society – Special Issue on Risk and Social Theory

‘The Practice and Experience of Risk Work: Developing Theoretical Understandings’. Deadline November 30th 2016. Full details are available here:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13698575.2016.1176128

By |June 27th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Call for Papers for 2017 Annual Health, Risk & Society – Special Issue on Risk and Social Theory|

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, Canada, July 15-21, 2018

Planning for the 2018 International Sociological Association World Congress to be held in Toronto, Ontario is in full flight. The conference will be hosted by the Canadian Sociological Association with support from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Tourism Toronto and the title of the event is: ‘Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities’. The Congress will welcome approximately 6,500 delegates from around the world in mid July.

By |June 27th, 2016|News & Events|Comments Off on XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, Canada, July 15-21, 2018|

ISA mid term conference at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico city, February 2016

The SoRU network extends heartfelt thanks to Ignacio Rubio and colleagues sitting on the organizing committee for hosting the ISA mid term conference at UNAM in Mexico City in February 2016. This is the first time the mid term conference has been held outside of Europe and it was a huge success. The program included five plenaries and sixteen paper sessions (seventy two papers; two sessions in English, three Spanish/English, and the rest in Spanish). The topics of the sessions included: social policy, health, crime, subjectivity, inequity, disasters, environment, social theory and research methods. The Conference attracted local and foreign researchers, students and officials from Mexico’s ministry of internal affairs. Mexican universities represented at conference included: Guadalajara, Yucatán, Coahuila, Tlaxcala, Estado de México, Morelos, de la Ciudad de México, Hidalgo and Puebla, Universidad Lasalle, FLACSO,  Colegio de Veracruz, UAM Cuajimalpa, Xochimilco and Azcapotzalco. From within the National University colleagues attended from Schools of Psychology, Philosophy and Medicine, and from the Institutes of Social Research, Law and Geography. Academics from Universities around the globe participated in the conference (Kent, Bath, Hildesheim, Melbourne, Polish Academy of Science, Universidad de la Patagonia, Universidad de La Plata, Mid Sweden University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois). The cross-disciplinary discussion on issues of risk and uncertainty across a range of topics was an extremely positive aspect of the event diversity presented in the working sessions. A selection of photos from the conference is viewable here:

http://investigacion.politicas.unam.mx/sri/

By |June 27th, 2016|News & Events|Comments Off on ISA mid term conference at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico city, February 2016|

Call for Papers – ESA RN22 Mid-Term Conference 2015, Stuttgart

Risk, Uncertainty and Transition

University of Stuttgart, Germany, 8-10 April 2015

Please find detailed info on the conference website.

Timetable

Abstracts, 300-350 words plus full name, institution, and the author(s) contacts, should be sent by December 20th, 2014 to the following e-mail address: [email protected]

Notification of acceptance will be announced by February 15th 2015.

Additional information about key note speakers, registration and payment of conference fee, and more, will be regularly updated on the SoRU-webpage, see www.riskanduncertainty.net/conferences/.

Research Network co-ordinators: Anna Olofsson ([email protected]) and Adam Burgess ([email protected]).

Local organizers (in case of inquiries of the local organization): Juergen Hampel ([email protected])

 

By |November 18th, 2014|News & Events|Comments Off on Call for Papers – ESA RN22 Mid-Term Conference 2015, Stuttgart|

Nikolas Rose lecture on youtube

From Risk to Resilience: Responsible citizens for uncertain times
By |September 12th, 2014|News & Events|Comments Off on Nikolas Rose lecture on youtube|

Nikolas Rose on Risk and Resilience – Live Streamed

Nikolas Rose "From Risk to Resilience" Life Streamed Lecture at the University of Melbourne - 28 August 2014
By |August 27th, 2014|News & Events|Comments Off on Nikolas Rose on Risk and Resilience – Live Streamed|

Download SoRU Newsletter #7

Final Program for the Yokohama Conference
By |July 22nd, 2014|News & Events, SoRU Newsletter|Comments Off on Download SoRU Newsletter #7|