Risk Revisited


Edited by Pat Caplan
London and Sterling, Virginia: Pluto Press 2000

The National Farmers' Union organised free Ox Roasts to restore public confidence in beef consumption due to BSE, Stratford, 1996.Are we living in dangerous times? Or are we just more afraid than we used to be? Is this really the 'Age of Anxiety'? In Risk Revisited, a range of distinguished anthropologists re-examines the concept of risk in contemporary societies.

This collection is the first to consider risk from a cross-cultural perspective and to challenge the Eurocentric frameworks within which notions of risk are more commonly considered. The authors argue that perceptions of danger and sources of anxiety are far more socially and culturally constructed - and for more contingent - than risk theorists generally. Admit. Among the themes discussed are the politics of risk among London prostitutes; unsafe sex, gender and AIDS in Africa; clinical genetics and British Pakistanis; risk, the cease-fire and Northern Ireland; the containment of risk in Montserrat; a consideration of consumers' responses to BSE and the beef crisis; and issues of food and chronic illness. The contributors distinguish between lay and scientific notions of risk, and consider the topic ethnographically as well as theoretically, provide a much-needed new dimension to a concept that until now has been over-theorised but rarely scrutinised.


Dr. Ahmed Ahmed founder of an NGO campaigning to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, Mafia Island, Tanzania, 2002
  1. Introduction: Risk Revisited Pat Caplan
  2. The Politics of Risk among London Prostitutes Sophie Day
  3. Risk and Trust: Unsafe Sex, Gender and AIDS in Tanzania Janet Bujra
  4. Conflicting Models of Risk: Clinical Genetics and British Pakistanis Alison Shaw
  5. Risk-talk: the Politics of Risk and its Representation Penny Vera-Sanso
  6. A Risky Cease-fire: British Infantry Soldiers and Northern Ireland Paul Killworth
  7. The Eruption of Chances Peak: Montserrat, and the Narrative Containment of Risk Jonathan Skinner
  8. 'Eating British Beef with Confidence': A Consideration of Consumers' Responses to BSE in Britain Pat Caplan
  9. Risk, ambiguity and the loss of control: how people with chronic illness experience complex biomedical causal models Simon Cohen
  10. Good Risk, Bad risk: Reflexive Modernisation and Amazonia Stephen Nugent

Other publications on risk

Notice at Mafia's Secondary School, Tanzania, 2002
  • 1996: "Why do people eat what they do? Approaches to food and diet from a social science perspective" in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry vol. 1. no. 2. April
  • 1998 (with A. Keane, A. Willetts and J. Williams) 'Concepts of Healthy Eating: Approaches from a social science perspective'. in A. Murcott (ed.) The Nation's Diet: the Social Science of Food Choice Longman, London and New York. pp. 168-82.
  • 1999 (with A. Keane) 'Health Professionals' Concepts of Healthy Eating' in B.M. Koehler and E. Feichtinger, E. Dowler and G. Winkler (eds.) Public Health and Nutrition: The Challenge Edition Sigma, Rainer Bohn Verlag. Berlin. pp. 228-44.
  • 2000 'Eating British Beef with Confidence': perceptions of the risk of BSE in London and West Wales. in P. Caplan (ed.) Risk Revisited Pluto Press, London and Sterling, Virginia