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Risk, praxis and everyday life

Horlick-Jones, Thomas Edward 2008. Risk, praxis and everyday life. Presented at: International Sociological Association Congress (ISA08), Barcelona, Spain, 5 -8 September 2008.

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In this paper, I will explore the tensions between the situational logics of everyday risk praxis, as they arise from the moment-by-moment emergence of social interaction, & instrumental risk logics generated by structural features of contemporary societies. Such features include both the ‘vertigo of possibility’ of everyday life, & the influence of technical & administrative discourses of risk. Drawing on a number of empirical cases, I will illustrate the diversity of everyday risk praxis, & the scope it provides for slippage between formal & informal risk-related practices. The resulting model provides a critique of the totalising tendencies of some contemporary grand theories of risk, by suggesting that these theories fail to fully capture the specificity & just-thisness of the real world of risk. This analysis also suggests that the formal bureaucracy of risk may provide an outward appearance of control & efficiency, whilst masking a diverse underlying tapestry of emergent practices. In conceptual terms, I draw upon phenomenology & ethnomethodology, and certain themes within interactionist & psychotherapeutic thinking to examine the practical accomplishment of what de Certeau, in his penetrating investigations of the sociology of everyday life, termed the capacity of agents to ‘poach’ resources from the powerful, so creating spheres of autonomous action. I conclude the paper with a discussion of the practical implications of these insights for a range of risk-related situations.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
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Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:37

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