Critical Studies in Risk and Uncertainty

2018 Events

Can we manage cyber risk? Seminar

29 May, 2018, University of Kent.  Speaker: John Y, Senior Researcher at the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre.

The XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology

July 2018 in Toronto, Canada.  The XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology will focus on how scholars, public intellectuals, policymakers, journalists and activists from diverse fields can and do contribute to our understanding of power, violence and justice.

Members of the risk cluster are helping organise this conference. Adam Burgess is organising a panel on comparative and historical perspectives, and Joy Zhang on ‘risk framing between North and South’:

Historical and comparative perspectives on risk stream:

A historical and comparative perspective is central to the original outline of the sociological approach to risk, which argued that risk was a distinctively modern concept. Comparing the impact and management of particular risks across both time and space allows unique insight. Rich comparative sociological risk research continues, such as in Tom Beamish’s recent study of the different impacts made by the prospect of siting bioterrorism facilities among different American communities.
Suggested topics for this stream include papers comparing the impact of technologies and other risks between different countries and communities, and the development of particular conceptualisations and reactions to risk over time. We particularly welcome papers that engage with the Western origins of risk concepts and practice and how these have been globalised to different effect and implication.

Bridging north-south divergence in risk framing:

Sustainable socio-economic development increasingly relies on productive collaboration between the Global North and the Global South. This is evident not least in combating climate change, but also in international aid programmes, transnational scientific collaborations, and the promotion of new professional and industrial norms and standards. Yet conflicting, sometimes contradictory, interpretations of socio-political and technological risks between stakeholders in developed and developing countries often cast a shadow over the efficiency of global initiatives. Thus a key challenge for practitioners and policymakers is to seek effective articulations of risk which speak to and sympathise with diverse interests among old and new forms of polity so as to consolidate commitments, mobilise social resources and invite innovative solutions. More importantly, as actors from the Global South are becoming more visible and vocal, it begs a renewed effort to understand and reflect upon the changing power-dynamics in risk framing and its implication for the changing geography of rights and responsibilities.

In this Panel, we invite empirically grounded contributions on how social actors and institutions from either the Global South or the Global North mitigate cultural and political differences in risk identification, mediation and control in a globalised world. Our goal is to identify and share valuable lessons from the success and failures of stakeholders (i.e., practitioners, interest groups, professional communities, policy makers and various publics) in responding to the contested nature of risks. We welcome both nation-specific and comparative studies that shed light on the North-South divergence in risk framing from contemporary and/or historical perspectives.

Please contact Adam Burgess or Joy Zhang if you would like to submit a proposal to these streams or on other topics at this event.