The Social and Cultural Construction of Risk: Issues, Methods, and Case Studies Vincent T. Covello and Branden B. Johnson Risks to health, safety, and the environment abound in the world and people cope as best they can. But before action can be taken to control, reduce, or eliminate these risks, decisions must be made about which risks are important and which risks can safely be ignored. The challenge for decision makers is that consensus on these matters is often lacking. Risks believed by some individuals and groups to be tolerable or accept able - such as the risks of nuclear power or industrial pollutants - are intolerable and unacceptable to others. This book addresses this issue by exploring how particular technological risks come to be selected for societal attention and action. Each section of the volume examines, from a different perspective, how individuals, groups, communities, and societies decide what is risky, how risky it is, and what should be done. The writing of this book was inspired by another book: Risk and Culture: An Essay on the Selection of Technoloqical and Environmental Dangers. Published in 1982 and written by two distinguished scholars - Mary Douglas, a British social anthropologist, and Aaron Wildavsky, an American political scientist - the book received wide critical attention and offered several provocative ideas on the nature of risk selection, perception, and acceptance.
Table of ContentsI: Reality, Perception, and the Social Construction of Risk.- Risk and Relativism in Science for Policy.- II: Community Dynamics and the Social Construction of Risk.- Risk Perception in Community Context: A Case Study.- Chemicals and Community at Love Canal.- III: Environmental Protest Movements, Citizen Groups, and the Social Construction of Risk..- Challenging Official Risk Assessments via Protest Mobilization: The TMI Case.- Protest Movements and the Construction of Risk.- The Environmentalist Movement and Grid/Group Analysis: A Modest Critique.- IV: Agenda-Setting, Group Conflict, and the Social Construction of Risk.- Macro-Risks, Micro-Risks, and the Media: The EDB Case.- The Political Symbolism of Occupational Health Risks.- V: Organizations and the Social Construction of Risk.- The Environmental Movement Comes to Town: A Case Study of an Urban Hazardous Waste Controversy.- Communicating Information about Workplace Hazards: Effects on Worker Attitudes Toward Risks.- Defining Risk within a Business Context: Thomas A. Edison, Elihu Thomson, and the a.c–d.c. Controversy, 1885–1900.- VI: Experts and the Social Construction of Risk.- Risk and the American Engineering Profession: The ASME Boiler Code and American Industrial Safety Standards.- Environmental Risk in Historical Perspective.- OSHA’s Carcinogens Standard: Round One on Risk Assessment Models and Assumptions.- Cultural Aspects of Risk Assessment in Britain and the United States.- Index of Subjects.