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Risk and Culture: An Essay on the Selection of Technological and Environmental Dangers Paperback – October 27, 1983

ISBN-13: 978-0520050631 ISBN-10: 0520050630

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (October 27, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520050630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520050631
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Offering what they call a cultural theory of risk perception, the authors suggest that peoples complaints about hazards should never be taken at face value. One must look further to discover what forms of social organization are being defended or attacked. -- New York Times

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Dan Kahan on July 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a classic in the study of risk perception. It is the genesis of the so-called "cultural theory of risk," which is an alternative to the dominant rational-actor and psychometric theories of risk perception. Douglas and Wildavsky's basic claim is that individuals conform their perceptions of various societal and personal risks to their preferred visions of a good society. Although (as noted by Gintis in his review) Risk and Culture is only casually empirical, it furnished a blueprint for a subsequent program of rigorous empirical study that is by now very far advanced and that corroborates Douglas's and Wildavsky's account.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David S. Wellhauser on November 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting work on culturally selected fears, but dated. This was originally published in 1982 so many of the example make the work seem more than a little out of step with current fears (justified or not). Still, the core argument remains valid.

However, I would not recommend this work because of its dated examples and argument.

On The Kindle Edition

Once again the quality of this Kindle edition is frighteningly pathetic. If you want a good e-copy give this edition a pass.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Bottoms on January 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think most of the critical reviews are "bothered" because of the book's criticism of environmentalism. In an other place, Douglas referred to environmentalism as a "cult." If you read most of the Blogs and books which support climate change are cultish. This is what is happening because we believe the models (?). The recent IPCC summary which seems to say that the climate is cooler because the heat is hiding in the Oceans ready to come out again.
I think she is dead on.
While I am an economist and computer scientist, I have read and studied Anthropology. Cultural anthropology always refers to the past, the present. Look at Diamond Jenness' studies of the Eskimo. It is in the anthropological present even though the book refers to his studies in the present tense. "Dated" is irrelevant.
To study the "Great Recession," I had my students read the books from the Depression era. Can we learn from Keynes, Hayek, Robbins, of course we can and we did.
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