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Christian Büscher and Aldo Mascareño

Historically, risk assessment and the concept of risk itself have been dominated by environmental, engineering, and economic sciences. Consequently, in analyzing risk production in modern cities, a rather technical view emerges on risks and urban dynamics. Though scientifically grounded and practically useful, this view fails to capture the social complexity of the city, its paradoxes and causalities. Elaborating on the hypothesis that the life-supporting mechanisms in modern cities are simultaneously life-endangering mechanisms, the article aims to develop a sociological framework to comprehend the dynamics of systematic risk production in the urban milieu. Methodologically, to illustrate the functioning of such mechanisms, we will use historical references and several empirical analyses related to urban research.

Open access

Relative Risk

Measuring Kinship for Future Health in US Genetic Counseling

Anna Jabloner

In genetic counseling, a medical profession that focuses on inherited diseases, kinship is key to the identification of health risks. By eliciting family histories of disease, and in combination with genetic tests and information about patients

Open access

Uncertainty, Risk, and Merit-Making

Tea Economy and Religious Practices in a Southern Yunnan Bulang Community

Zhen Ma

period of self-contained swidden agriculture. However, with prosperity, the market also brought risks, confirming Ulrich Beck's (1992: 19) observation that “the social production of wealth is systematically accompanied by the social production of

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Teppo Eskelinen

avoid financial collapse, implying that the situation was caused by existing risk structures. In this article, I argue that in contemporary capitalism, the ascent of finance as a dominant social force compels us to address specifically the issue of

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Lam Yee Man

More often than not, risk is the driving force for change in environmental development. For instance, the risk in the 1960s—the degradation of air and water in developed countries—gave rise to environmental movements worldwide in the 1970s. The risk

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Rolf Lidskog

This paper analyzes public understanding and moral reasoning with regard to regulating nature, specifically, societal efforts to control an insect population. It presents a study of a Swedish case in which a biological insecticide has been used to fight mosquitoes to reduce the nuisance to the local population. This case involves conflicting values regarding environmental protection. People's right to outdoor life is placed in opposition to long-term risks to biodiversity. Through interviews with local residents, their deliberations on the spraying are analyzed, particularly concerning to what extent and how they describe the situation in moral terms, but also how they acknowledge and use scientific findings in their argumentation.

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Rationalizing risk

Arguing over safety on the Firth of Forth

Achim Schlüter and Peter Phillimore

This article examines the centrality of 'safety' in Grangemouth's recent politics. Scotland's main petrochemical center is a town dominated for well over fifty years by a major BP complex. In a context of extensive redundancies at BP, new insecurities surrounding the future of the company's Grangemouth site, and a series of recent accidents, as well as controversy over planning applications from other chemical companies, the town has been pushed into unusually searching questioning about both safety and economic security. This article explores the different lines of reasoning and rationalization on risk, safety, and the future advanced by regulators, BP, and residents and their political representatives. We emphasize how important the familiarity of petrochemical technology has been in public responses to the question of safety, in contrast to many environmental risk controversies. And we argue that safety has provided a focus for social, moral, economic, and political perspectives on the town's present circumstances and future prospects to be played out.

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Rights and Risks

Evenki Concerns Regarding the Proposed Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean Pipeline

Gail Fondahl and Anna Sirina

Indigenous peoples' rights to a healthy environment and to be able to participate in decisions affecting their environment are increasingly recognized in Russian law. In this article we explore the case of the Evenki living at the north end of Lake Baikal, who are faced with the construction of an oil pipeline through their home-land. The Evenki perceive significant potential risks to their livelihoods and lifeways due to potential environmental degradation from the pipeline, risks that destabilize their substantive rights. They also express frustration over their inability to participate in the pipeline planning—their procedural rights to decision making are not being realized. While the pipeline project is currently stymied over environmental concerns, environmental and cultural justice concerns of indigenous peoples could pose considerable de jure obstacles to its future progress, given the pipeline construction company's disregard of indigenous rights.

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Ken MacLean

landmines consequently offers a strategic entry point into perceptions of different classes of risk and the strategies adopted toward managing them. Myanmar is the third most landmine-contaminated country in the world after Afghanistan and Colombia

Free access

Jonathan Skinner

Risk and Sociocultural Theory: New Directions and Perspectives. Edited by Deborah Lupton Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, ix, 185pp., paperback £19.99. ISBN 0-521-64554-9.

Trade and Trade-offs: Using Resources, Making Choices, and Taking Risks. By Estellie Smith. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc., 2000, x, 185pp., glossary, annotated bibliogr., paperback $20.95. ISBN: 1-57766-092-7.

Hitting the Jackpot: Lives of Lottery Millionaires. By Pasi Falk and Pasi Maenpaa. Oxford: Berg, 1999, 168pp., appendices, bibliogr., £15.99. ISBN 9781859733059.