XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Sociology on the move, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010


RC homepage


Thematic Group on
Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty TG04

Programme Coordinator
Jens Zinn, University of Melbourne, Australia, jzinn@unimelb.edu.au

Congress Programme


Sessions descriptions

Session 1: Managing risk and uncertainty: Politics and policy-making

Organizer: Peter Taylor-Gooby, University of Kent, UK, p.f.taylor-gooby@kent.ac.uk
Perceptions of and responses to risk are central to many of the most challenging and intransigent issues facing governments throughout the world, including climate change, the economic crisis, terrorism, poverty and social risk.  

This session will focus on risk and policy-making and address in particular:

The papers will be selected for presentation.  There will also be opportunities for other papers to be included as papers or as material posted on the conference website and available for discussion. Preference will be given to papers that both present and analyse new empirical findings.

Session 2: Comparative national risk research

Organizer: Adam Burgess, University of Kent, UK, A.Burgess@kent.ac.uk
Douglas and Wildavsky’s seminal Risk and Culture considered the rise of the language and perception of risk in the late modern American context. Since that time few studies have developed such national perspectives, encouraging a more comparative approach. Studies tend to be either at the micro level or more abstract one of the ‘risk society’, with much less in the middle range. In short, specific ‘risk objects’ and the ‘risk society’ have been extensively considered but much less research particular ‘risk societies’ and they compare.
 This session will focus on research that encourages reflection on the constitution of risk in particular societies and comparison between them. How do different societies respond to comparable risks such as from terrorism, natural hazards and child abuse? What are the origins of the different ways societies are configured to manage risk? Is it possible to understand that underlying social processes such as individualization are constituted in radically different ways in different societies? Is risk a distinctively ‘Western’ social configuration or can we identify comparable trends in newly dominant countries such as China? We hope this session will encourage more comparative risk research and look forward to it becoming a regular feature of international sociology conferences.

Session 3: Risk and everyday life

Organizer: Jens O Zinn, University of Melbourne, Australia, jzinn@unimelb.edu.au
A number of theories have developed hypotheses about general social change which would fundamentally affect the ways of dealing with risks and uncertainties during the course of their life. Growing turbulences, fluidities and complexities in everyday life would challenge individuals and communities worldwide. The contradictory modes of individualisation (precarious freedoms), globalisation (global – local), new politics (cosmopolitism, international terror) and cultural tensions (migration, multiculturalism, indigenous populations) question common forms to deal with risks and uncertainties. This session will explore the different new and old modes of how people respond to the risks and uncertainties of everyday life in a changing world. It will explore to what extent old institutions and strategies are still useful to deal with new challenges and which new forms have developed.

Session 4: Methodological and conceptual issues in risk
Joint sessions of RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology and TG04 Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty [host committee]

Session 5: Risk society and religion
Joint session of RC22 Sociology of Religion [host committee] and TG04 Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty

Session 6: Business Meeting