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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For many researchers, risk is objective, fixed, and measurable. Social scientists, however, have long worked under the belief that risk is a social construction and is culturally determined. This chapter follows Wilkinson’s use of the term “risk” and the goal of the chapter is to review and map out the ways social actors perceive and make sense of hazards and conditions of threatening uncertainty. Such a contribution is generally seen to lie in the area of risk perception, risk communication, and risk responsibility. This chapter explores key contributions in the study of risk in these three areas through the lens of a sociology of culture and cognition. The chapter ends with some observations on risk and cognition from ethnographic research on the long-term aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Keywords: risk, Hurricane Katrina, cognition, immersing, uncertainty, hazard, communication

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