Risk and Society by David Denney

By David Denney

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They deconstruct the concrete subject of intervention, and reconstruct a combination of factors liable to produce risk. Their primary aim is not to confront a concrete dangerous situation, but to anticipate all possible forms of irruption of danger’ (Castel, 1991: 288). Preventative strategies within the area of social policy are now dominated not by the individual subjects needing services provided by the state, but by combinations of ‘factors’ which have come to constitute risk assessment. This makes for the emergence of a new mode of surveillance, which focuses on risks faced by aggregate populations and not individuals.

Once the interpretation of the relevance of an event has occurred, a number of possible strategies for action may have been evolved. At each stage of this process of the development of ‘intrinsic topical relevancies’ volition and constraint are conceptually separated. Relevancies are differentiated from this theoretical position. Bloor’s ‘intrinsic topical relevancies’ are situations defined as being problematic on the basis of selection by the subject. qxd 7/19/2005 11:55 AM Page 28 RISK AND SOCIETY topical relevancies are situations which are rendered problematic by the actions and interpretations of others.

Qxd 7/19/2005 11:55 AM Page 31 THEORETICAL POSITIONS Under these conditions, risk management becomes an impersonal quasi science which conceals a range of social and moral judgements. This challenges trust in governments and all forms of professional expertise. Beck defines risk in a way which, on first inspection, would appear to be simple, but when explored can be bewilderingly complex. 5 Beck’s definition of risk Risk may be defined as a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced and introduced by modernisation itself.

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