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Risk and Culture An Essay on the Selection of Technological and Environmental Dangers

ISBN-10: 0520050630
ISBN-13: 9780520050631
Edition: 1983
List price: $29.95 Buy it from $23.63
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Description: Can we know the risks we face, now or in the future? No, we cannot; but yes, we must act as if we do. Some dangers are unknown; others are known, but not by us because no one person can know everything. Most people cannot be aware of most dangers at  More...

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 1983
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/27/1983
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

Can we know the risks we face, now or in the future? No, we cannot; but yes, we must act as if we do. Some dangers are unknown; others are known, but not by us because no one person can know everything. Most people cannot be aware of most dangers at most times. Hence, no one can calculate precisely the total risk to be faced. How, then, do people decide which risks to take and which to ignore? On what basis are certain dangers guarded against and others relegated to secondary status?  This book explores how we decide what risks to take and which to ignore, both as individuals and as a culture.

Born in Italy, Mary Douglas was educated at Oxford University and began her career as a civil servant in 1943. Her first field research was carried out in what was then the Belgian Congo and she taught at Oxford and the University of London before moving to the United States in 1977. Purity and Danger (1966) is an essay about the logic of pollution beliefs, suggesting that ideas about dirt and disorder outline and reinforce particular social orders. Her other essays exploring the implicit meanings of cultural symbols follow a similar Durkheimian format. Her recent interests have turned to analysis of risk behavior and cross-cultural attitudes about food and alcohol.

Aaron Wildavsky was, until his death in 1993, professor of political science and public policy at the University of California in Berkeley. He was also director of its Survey Research Center.

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