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Environmental Expertise as Group Belonging

Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies

Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist

sociology: the treadmill of production, risk society, and ecological modernization. We conclude that these theories are not clear about either what expertise is or how to balance scientism and powerism. Therefore, we turn to science and technology studies

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The Social Life of Blame in the Anthropocene

Peter Rudiak-Gould

The Anthropocene can be understood as a crisis of blame: it is not only a geological era but also a political zeitgeist in which the marks of human agency and culpability can be perceived nearly everywhere. Treating global climate change as a metonym for this predicament, I show how life in the Anthropocene reconfigures blame in four ways: it invites ubiquitous blame, ubiquitous blamelessness, selective blame, and partial blame. I review case studies from around the world, investigating which climate change blame narratives actors select, why, and with what consequences. Climate change blame can lead to scapegoating and buck-passing but also to their opposites. Given that the same ethical stance may lead to radically different consequences in different situations, the nobleness or ignobleness of an Anthropocene blame narrative is not a property of the narrative itself, but of the way in which actors deploy it in particular times and places.

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News and the Social Construction of Risky Girls

Alison Fyfe

Early twenty-first century North American journalists often claim that social changes such as women's liberation and civil rights have had a dark side for girls. For supposedly abandoning the safety of their traditional role in the home, girls are disproportionately characterized as being at risk of victimization, while also being increasingly cast as risks to themselves and others. Using mixed-methods content analysis, this article demonstrates that the social construct of risky girls crystallized for Toronto news after the 1997 murder of Reena Virk in British Columbia through a raced, classed, and gendered moral panic over bad girls. Discourses changed from talk of youth violence before the murder to talk of risky girls after it. By conflating victimization with offending, risky girl discourses prioritize risk management over needs. This conflation results in the increased policing and incarceration of girls and youth of color, ultimately reinforcing social inequalities like racism and patriarchy.

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Book Reviews

Brian Byrne, Robert Mongwe, and Lindsay Sprague

Fire in the Dark: Telling Gypsiness in North East England (2007). By Sarah Buckler. Oxford: Berghahn Books 234 pp. ISBN 1-84545-230-5 (hardback) £45.

Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights and the African Poor in Malawi. By Harri Englund. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2006, ISBN 13: 978-0-520-24924-0/ISBN 10: 0-520-24924-0. 260 pages, £13.95 paperback.

Ulrich Beck: A Critical Introduction to the Risk Society. Gabe Mythen. London: Pluto Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-7453-1815-2. 240pp £23.99.

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Social Quality and the Policy Domain of Employment in Hungary

Erzsébet Bukodi and Péter Róbert

European labour-market patterns tend to contain a growing element of flexible employment, which deviates from the norm of the secure, lifelong career. What do we mean by flexible work? Dex and McCullogh (1997) offer the following definition: ‘Flexible work … is a description of a change in the distribution of labour market jobs, away from standard full-time permanent employee contracts, and towards a growth in various types of non-standard employment forms.’ Pollert (1988) argues that flexibility refers to a combination of different factors. It involves firms being flexible enough to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to technological and economic changes; it also refers to organisations that are flexible in terms of employee numbers. In addition, it refers to a workforce that is multi-skilled and/or flexible with regard to time. This may result in a trend for firms to retain ‘core ’employees who work flexibly, with a periphery of employees who are flexible because they are irregularly employed. The result of this process is that employment is no longer as stable as it was. The development of the new, flexible labour market undermines security, leading to the so-called ‘risk society’ (Crompton et al.,1996).

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Fear as a property and an entitlement

Caroline Humphrey

Dominant approaches to fear in the social sciences and humanities tend to consider fear as a negative and disempowering emotion. Such analyses conceptualise fear as an indistinct mass phenomenon, a characteristic of an abstraction, such as ‘risk society’ or ‘culture of fear’ or ‘dictatorial power’. By contrast, this paper examines the structure of the experience and management of fear by individual subjects, and relates this to questions of morality and self‐reflection. Using the cases of omens and horror movies, it is shown how fear is evoked and ‘managed’ within assemblages, which might include other people, frightening objects, ghosts, animals, diseases, technologies, or monsters. One is conscious of one's own fear and hence fear itself can become another ‘thing’, a property, which somehow must be dealt with. The theoretical proposition here is that fear need not be conceptualised as all‐embracing. An emotion such as fear is ‘mine’ / ‘ours’ and contained within an identity; and yet, being a relation, it puts into question the connection between this passing element of what we think of as ‘self’ with the world outside. Such an approach opens the possibility of examining the management of fear, its coming and going over time, the evaluations that are made of it (as noble, despicable, justified, irrational, etc.), and the entitlements it provides in society. In particular, it raises the question of attitudes towards other humans as objects of fear, and the circumstances in which they are repudiated or, to the contrary, embraced.

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When “Nature” Strikes: A Sociology of Climate Change and Disaster Vulnerabilities in Asia

Md Saidul Islam and Si Hui Lim

Home to 60 percent of the world's population, Asia accounts for 85 percent of those killed and affected globally by disaster events in 2011. Using an integrated sociological framework comprised of the pressure and release (PAR) model and the double-risk society hypothesis, and drawing on data obtained from the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), PreventionWeb, and the IPCC special report on extreme events, this article offers a sociological understanding of disaster development and recovery in Asia. The particular focus is on seven Asian countries, namely, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Rather than treating disasters entirely as “natural” events caused by “violent forces of nature”, we emphasize various ways in which social systems create disaster vulnerability. We argue that existing disaster mitigation and adaptation strategies in Asia that focus almost entirely on the natural and technological aspects of hazards have serious limitations, as they ignore the root causes of disaster vulnerabilities, such as limited access to power and resources. This article therefore recommends a holistic approach to disaster management and mitigation that takes into consideration the various larger social, political, and economic conditions and contexts.

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Book Reviewed in this article: Allen, Catherine J. 2002. The hold life has. Coca and cultural identity in an Andean Community (2nd edition). Bossen, Laurel. 2002. Chinese women and rural development. Sixty years of change in Lu Village, Yunnan. Cesari, Jocelyne (ed.). 2002. La Méditerranée des réseaux. Marchands, entrepreneurs et migrants entre l'Europe et le Maghreb. Peraldi, Michel (ed.). 2001. Cabas et containers. Activités marchandes informelles et réseaux migrants transfrontaliers. Peraldi, Michel (ed.). 2002. La fin des Norias. Réseaux migrants dans les économies comerçantes en Méditerranée. Coleman, Simon, and John Eade (eds.). 2004. Reframing pilgrimage. Cultures in motion. Collins, Jane L. 2003. Threads. Gender, labor and power in the global apparel industry. Fowler, Chris. 2004. The archaeology of personhood. An anthropological approach. Graeber, David. 2004. Fragments of an anarchist anthropology. Grimshaw, Anna and Amanda Ravetz (eds.). 2005. Visualizing anthropology. Hannerz, Ulf. 2004. Soulside. Inquiries into ghetto culture and community. Hayden, Cori. 2003. When nature goes public. The making and unmaking of bioprospecting in Mexico. Kerns, Virginia. 2003. Scenes from the high desert. Julian Steward's life and theory. Mythen, Gabe. 2004. Ulrich Beck. A critical introduction to the risk society. Parker, John, Leonard Mars, Paul Ransome and Hilary Stanworth. 2003. Social theory. A basic tool kit. Parnell, Philip C. and Stephanie C. Kane (eds.). 2003. Crime's power. Anthropologists and the ethnography of crime. Pink, Sarah, László Kürti and Ana Isabel Afonso (eds.). 2004. Working images. Visual research and representation in ethnography. Richards, Audrey I. 2004. Hunger and work in a savage tribe. A functional study of nutrition among the southern Bantu. Robben, Antonius C. G. M. (ed.). 2004. Death, mourning and burial. A cross‐cultural reader. Saeed, Fouzia. 2001. Taboo! The hidden culture of a red light area. Taschwer, Klaus and Benedikt Föger. 2003. Konrad Lorenz. Vale de Almedia, Miguel. 2004. An earth‐Colored sea. ‘Race’, culture and the politics of identify in the post‐colonial Portuguese‐speaking world.

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Introduction: What is Fracking a Case of?

Theoretical Lessons from European Case Studies

Roberto Cantoni, Claudia Foltyn, Reiner Keller, and Matthias S. Klaes

transition, risk society, ecological justification, or other concepts related to social structuration? This issue of Nature + Culture will not provide comprehensive answers to those questions, but we hope it will stimulate debate around them. So let us

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Gijs Mom

Automobilism: World Mobility History, 1900–2015 . 3 Ulrich Beck, “World Risk Society as Cosmopolitan Society? Ecological Questions in a Framework of Manufactured Uncertainties,” Theory, Culture and Society 13, no. 4 (1996): 1–32. 4 Michael Hardt and