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Call for Papers Deadline: "Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty"


Risk and uncertainty are important issues in a growing amount of societal areas and social research. The management and negotiation of risk, its socio-cultural production in media coverage and discourses and the conflicts on its (unequal) allocation are focal themes in the sociology of risk and uncertainty. As there is a growing interest in how sociological macro phenomena are linked to everyday life, the call for papers of the research network covers a wide range of topics. It reaches from strategies to govern the risk society and the discoursive construction of risk and uncertainty via issues of health and illness to the ongoing reproduction of social inequalities. There is an additional focus on individual's experience and management of risk and uncertainty. The various links of risk and suffering are addressed as well as the phenomena of voluntary (high) risk taking. In a shared session with the RN Biographical Perspectives on European Societies the different forms of the management of risk and uncertainty during the course of their life as well as the impact of one's biography on the experience of risk and uncertainty will be examined.

Session topics
*Governing the Risk Society
Chair: Peter Taylor-Gooby, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK,

The emergence of the risk approach to managing uncertainty and the implications for governance across public and private sectors and personal life have been extensively analysed. This section invites papers which draw on these themes, and those which consider current developments, including but not limited to:
- Risk and Citizenship;
- Risk and Trust
- New Public Policies and Risk
- Risk and New Forms of Management

*Health, Risk and European Societies
Chair: Andy Alaszewski, Centre for Health Service Studies (CHSS), University of Kent, Canterbury, UK,

Health forms a major site for the articulation and construction of risk in late modern society. Failures to effectively identify and manage risk often result in major health problems even disasters while the uncertainty associated with health threats are a major factor in shaping individual and collective behaviour. We invite papers which address different dimensions of health and risk from issues of human agency, through the institutional structuring of risk to the societal construction of risk and uncertainty.

*Risk Discourses and the Media
Chair: N.N.

The media doubtless play an important role to disseminate knowledge about the world, which risks and uncertainties we have to expect and which worries and concerns torture us in everyday life. Nevertheless, the media only partly influence people's risk perception. The session aims to examine how media discourses (e.g. on GM-food, bird flue, divorce, youth, crime) construct risk and uncertainty and how media and the public are connected.

*Terrorism, Risk and Uncertainty
Chair: Gabe Mythen, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK,

Following on from high profile terrorist attacks in the United States, Spain and the UK, terrorism has become a crucial and contested problem in Western nations. Political debates have centred on the nature, communication and management of the terrorist threat. Meanwhile, academics have sought to understand the thorny issues that cluster around terrorism with recourse to extant risk theories. This theme seeks to make sense of current events by engaging with the risks and uncertainties that emerge around the terrorist threat, including its representation, mediation, interpretation and regulation. Submissions are invited for papers which engage with one or more of the following themes:
- Terrorism and Changing Modes of Risk Assessment
- Media Representations of Terrorism
- Terrorism and the Politics of Fear
- Security, Surveillance and Terrorism
- Terrorism, Law and Uncertainty
- Terrorism, Crime and Governance

*Risk, Uncertainty and Social Inequalities
Chair: Anwen Jones, University of York, UK,

Beck's thesis on the risk society (1991) stated a change in societal reproduction mode from a society mainly driven by class differences to a society mainly driven by risk. Even though this assumption was continuously criticized there is still a lack of newer studies of the reproduction of social inequalities in the risk society and how risk and inequalities interact, whether they mutually amplify or weaken inequalities. Papers are invited which contribute to the understanding of the societal reproduction of social inequalities in the risk society.

*Risk, Uncertainty, and Social Suffering
Chair: Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, University of Helsinki, Finland

Social suffering as a theoretical and methodological approach has recently been widely discussed within the domain of social sciences. Social suffering is approached from various perspectives; it is defined as a social category that connects different kinds of human problems, including pain, illness experience, political violence, and other trials for people to undergo or endure. Some scholars consider social suffering as lived experience, and as something that hinders the most meaningful in one's life. Still others, like Bourdieu, with his concept of misère considers sufferings in a plural and emphasizes human agency and praxis in shifting and multiple contexts of everyday life. The session aims to discussing the problems of risk in the context of social suffering, thus giving it a broader perspective upon the lived experience of uncertainty, contingency, and agency.

*Voluntary Risk Taking
Chair: Stephen Lyng, Carthage College, USA,

In the context of risk, research often focuses on the individual's prevention of or coping with undesired events. The reasons and forms of why people seek risks and uncertainties are less well examined even though voluntary risk taking is an essential part of our life (Lupton/Tulloch 2002; Lyng 2005). Voluntary risk taking is addressed in a range of areas as crime, leisure time, sex, sports, work, drug use etc. The session aims to pool forms of voluntary risk taking in European societies.

Shared sessions with other research networks:

*Biography, Risk, and Uncertainty
(with RN 'Biographical Perspectives on European Societies')
Chair: Jens O. Zinn, and Robin Humphrey,

Biographical research and risk research are two rising stars of sociological and interdisciplinary research which converge in many respects. In risk research the pressing question on the factors how people perceive and respond to risk recently developed greater interest into narrative and biographical research since risk perceptions research, the psychometric paradigm and rational action approaches showed significant weaknesses. How current activities and orientations are embedded in the accumulation of experiences during the course of one's life is the central focus of biographical research. In this perspective risk perception and coping with risk is part of the overall management of one's life and its miseries and therefore only understandable against the background of one's biography embedded in a socio-historical context. Papers are welcome which examine people's everyday management of risks in a biographical perspective.

Please submit your abstracts via the conference homepage by 15th February 2007.

Към новина: 01/12/2006 Call for Papers: "Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty"

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