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Which three sociological approaches to risk according to Arnoldi?

1. Beck/Giddens: risks are complex and uncertain
2. Douglas: cultural Logic determines what we fear
3. Foucault: governmentality and risk as Technology of government
(+ voluntary risk taking)


Why are sociologist interested in the objectification of risks? Acc to Arnoldi

It is interesting how risks are made calculable, and what the purpose of this is

Arnoldi 2009


Paradox of risk society acc to Arnoldi?

Our society is not neccessarily more dangerous than earlier e.g. Increased life expectancy
It's about potential instead of actual threats



How are risk concerns distributed acc to Arnoldi?

Often according to existing political lines, e.g. Right wing does not see nuclear energy as a risk in the same way as left wing


What does Arnoldi mean with social risks?

Because a risk is about whether we know that there is a risk - if we don't, we are not responsible. E.g. Lightning strikes

Risk becomes a way of exerting power, since we do not want to act irresponsible e.g. Eating healthy


What is the psychometric (psychological) approach to risk?

Focuses on factors that triggers fear and uncertainty --> magnify 'objective' risks


How can the psychometric approach be criticized?

It implies that there is an objective risk, and that the subjective understanding of it is irrational + risk perception is shaped by intersubjective as well as subjective values


What epistemology does sociologists studying risk often have according to Arnoldi?

Social constructivism. Human knowledge is influenced by what is known, culture, meaning etc and sc often focuses on power and discoursive processes


Why is risk linked to modernity and post-modernity acc to Arnoldi?

Before modernity people talked about acts of God instead of risks. With modernity people came to see themselves as master of their lives, and therefor wanted to calculate the outcome of their actions

The idea of risk helped to construct the concept of society as an entity which could be governed by humans


When did probability theory start to emerge?

In the 1650s


Which new meaning has risk gotten over the last 30-40 years?

It has gone from being about calculability to also be things that cannot be calculated and are uncertain


What does Arnoldi mean when he talks about a shift from danger to safety?

Earlier you had the responsibility to prove that something was dangerous, whereas now you have to prove that it is safe


Is there a threshold for when technology is safe enough?

No, it is ultimately a political process, and might be based more on values and ethics than on facts


What is risk acc to Douglas?

The threat of breaking down the classificatory system, which leads to moral transgression. Risks gives a community a shared enemy, and can therefore be used to mobilize


What is risk in modern society a.t. Douglas?

Concerned with the violation of right if individuality, why the U.S. Is more concerned with risk than eu countries


Are risks constructed in Douglas' view?

She is a social constructivist, but she believes that real risks does exist, but our perception of them is culturally biased

Real risks but not objective risks!


How does Douglas feel about psychological approaches?

Critical, because they are looking at individuals, hence not taking culture into account


Which four cultural types does Douglas talk about?

Stems from her grid-group analysis: grid= degree of autonomy and group= degree of incorporation

See p 42 in Arnoldi


How does Beck distinguish between dangers and risks?

Dangers are caused by nature, risks are man made


How does Beck describe the new risks?

They are incalculable!
They are intangible, latent (will only show over time), often global, catastrophic and difficult to attribute responsibility

Arnoldi: Beck's new risks are therefore uncertainties


How does the risk society differ from the industrial one a.t. Beck?

In industrial wealth was distributed, in risk society risks are distributed


What is the relationship between science and uncertainty?

Risks are made known to the public through research, but science also created the technologies that now produce side effects


Are risks real a.t. Beck?

Yes, cause technologies are creating side effects, however socially constructed, as they invoke values and politics


Do beck and Douglas agree on risks?

To some extent, but beck does not agree that risks can be reduced to culture as Douglas do it


Which types of risks does beck talk about?

Ecological, financial, terror and to some extent social/biographical risks

Terror risks differs from the others, as it is intended


What is the conduct of conduct?

E.g. Through collecting data the population can be made a governable object


What does a governmentality approach to risk entail?

It means studying the concepts of risk and their usage rather than real risks or the perception of these


How is the distinction between uncertainty and risk within governmentality?

They are analytical concepts, and it is studied how they are constructed


How can insurance be used to govern?

E.g. By collecting data, thereby being able to say what is normal behavior + the companies seek to influence the insured + makes risk profiles for customers resulting in different premiums which gives incentive to avoid risky behavior


What is manufactured uncertainties?

Stems from Giddens.
= new high-consequence risk produced by high modernity
They are global (like Becks)


What is necessary to understand the economic system a.t. Knight?

To examine the meaning and significance of uncertainty - we live in a world of uncertainty



How can we a.t. Knight arrive at a probability judgment?

1. A priori which assumes logical and mathematical probability (e.g. Throwing a dice)
2. The empirical method where Calculation is impossible, and the result is reached by applying statistics to actual instances (e.g. Whether a building will collapse)


What is the Starr text about?

How to determine the benefits of technology versus the risks, I.e. How much society will pay for safety


What kind of societal activities do Starr distinguish between?

Voluntary: individual decides themselves, and the feedback happens quickly on how much risk the person will take

Involuntary: society forces something on the individual, feedback happens slow. Gives example of war, where there is a great distance between the decision makers and the ones affected


Give an example of a trade-off between technology and side-effects

Starr 1969

E.g. If technology gives an increase in gnp, but increases the likelihood of death, then how do you calculate the effect on quality of life?