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Power and Vulnerability: Contextualizing “Low Risk” Views of Environmental and Health Hazards

William R. Freudenburg, A Life in Social Research

ISBN: 978-1-78190-734-4, eISBN: 978-1-78190-735-1

ISSN: 0196-1152

Publication date: 20 December 2013

Abstract

Research has found a subgroup of conservative white males have lower perceptions of risk across a variety of environmental and health hazards. Less research has looked at the views of these “low risk” individuals in group interactions. Through qualitative analysis of a technology deliberation, we note that white men expressing low risk views regarding technologies for energy and the environment also often express high social risks around potential loss of control. We argue these risk perceptions reflect identification with corporate concerns, usually framed in opposition to government and mirroring arguments made by conservative organizations. We situate these views within the broader cultural struggle over who has the power to name and address risks.

Keywords

Citation

Shearer, C., Bea Rogers-Brown, J., Bryant, K., Cranfill, R. and Herr Harthorn, B. (2013), "Power and Vulnerability: Contextualizing “Low Risk” Views of Environmental and Health Hazards", William R. Freudenburg, A Life in Social Research (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 235-257. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0196-1152(2013)0000021015

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited