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The Social Amplification of Risk Unit 8


SKU: DIPUnit8 Category:


Topics will include:

  • The social making of uncertainty and risk
  • The risk management industry
  • Prince 2, Six Sigma and project management approaches to risk
  • Risk management as fundamentalism
  • The insurance industry
  • The law industry
  • The journalism industry
  • The quest for certainty and the challenge of uncertainty
  • The media and risk, layers of communications
  • The chemistry of fear, anxiety and political consciousness
  • Case studies in the social amplification of risk (group presentations)
    • Y2K
    • Mad Cow
    • AIDS
    • Climate change
    • Avian flu
    • Nuclear stigma and Fukishima
    • The vaccination debate
    • Children and risk (Gill)
    • Sport, recreation and risk
    • Adventure and risk
    • Terrorism
    • Tsunami
    • Road safety
    • Rail suicide
    • AIDS and blood transfusion
    • Cell phones and cancer
    • Passive smoking
    • Ebola
    • Lotteries as a tax on the stupid
    • Terrorism
    • You can’t trust experts
    • Academia is nonsense
    • One good reason is enough
  • The precautionary principle and risk anxiety
  • Probabilities and the politics of panic
  • Complex adaptive systems
  • Review causal loop mapping
  • Stigma and attribution
  • The semiotics of fear and images of risk
  • Mitigating and amplifying risk
  • Tolerability and practicability of risk
  • Social drama, media appetite and the news cycle
  • Economic and enterprise risk
  • Bricolage, imagination, creativity and the problems of behaviourism
  • Incident investigation

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Texts and references

Required texts

Long, R., (2014) Real Risk. Human Discerning and Risk Scotoma Press, Canberra.

Pidgeon, N., Kasperson, R., and Slovic, P., (eds) (2003) The Social Amplification of Risk. Cambridge, London.

Recommended references

Trimpop, R., (1994) The Psychology of Risk Taking Behaviour. Elsevier, North Holland.

Hallinan, J., (2009) Why We Make Mistakes. Broadway Books, New York.

Further references

Ajzen, I., and Fishburn, M., (1980) Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behaviour. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Ariely, D., (2008) Predictably Irrational, The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions. HarperCollins, Melbourne.

Axelrod, R., and Cohen, M., (2000) Harnessing Complexity. Basic Books, New York.

Bammer, G., and Smithson, M., (eds.) (2008) Earthscan, London.

Baudrillard, J., (1981) Simulacra and Simulation. Michigan.

Boulder, F., Slavin, D., and Lofstedt, E., (2007) The Tolerability of Risk, A New Framework for Risk Management. Earthscan, London.

Brown, V., Harris, J., and Russell, J., (2010) Tackling Wicked Problems Through Transdisciplinary Imagination. Earthscan, London.

Carson, B., (2008) Take the Risk, Learning to identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk. Zondervan, Michigan.

Carr, N., (2010) The Shallows, What the Internet is doing to Our Brains. Norton. New York.

Evans, D., (2012) Risk Intelligence, How to Live with Uncertainty. Free Press. New York.

Fischhoff, B., Lichtenstein, S., Slovic, P., Derby, S., and Keeney, R., (1981) Acceptable Risk. Earthscan. London.

Fischhoff, B., (2012) Judgment and Decision Making. Earthscan. London.

Fischhoff, B., (2012) Risk Analysis and Human Behaviour. Earthscan. London.

Flynn, J., Slovic, P., and Kunreuther, H., (eds.) (2001) Risk, Media and Stigma, Understanding Public Challenges to Modern Science and Technology. Eathscan, London.

Gardner, D., (2008) Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear. Virgin Books, London.

Gill, T., (2007) No Fear, Growing Up in a Risk Averse Society. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation United Kingdom Branch.

Hedges, C., (2009) Empire of Illusion, the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. Nation Books, New York.

Kasperson, J., and Kasperson, R., (2005) The Social Contours of Risk Vol 1. Earthscan, London.

Kasperson, J., and Kasperson, R., (2005) The Social Contours of Risk Vol 2. Earthscan, London.

Keen, A., (2008) The Cult of the Amateur. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. London.

Keen, A., (2008) #digitalvertigo. St Martin’s Griffin. London.

Kirkpatrick, D., (2010) The Facebook Effect. Simon and Schuster. New York.

Kluger, J., (2008) Simplexity, Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can be Made Simple) Hyperion, New York.

Krimsky, S., and Golding, D., (eds.) (1992) Social Theories of Risk. Praeger, London.

Luhmann, N., (2008) Risk, A Sociological Theory. Aldine Transactions. London.

Lupton, D., (1999) Risk. Routledge, London.

Moskowitz, G., and Grant, H., (eds.) (2009) The Psychology of Goals .The Guilford Press, New York.

Packard, V., (2007) The Hidden Persuaders. IG Publishing. New York.

Perrow, C., (1999) Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.

Poster, M., (2015) Jean Baudrillard, Select Writings. Sandford University Press. Sanford.

Renn, O., (2008) Risk Governance: . Earthscan, London.

Ropeik, D., and Gray, G., (2002) Risk: A practical guide for deciding what’s really safe and what’s really dangerous in the world around you. Houghton Miffflin Co., Boston.

Schneier, B., (2006) Beyond Fear. Springer, USA.

Slovic, P., (2000) The Perception of Risk. Earthscan, London.

Slovic, P., (2010) The Feeling of Risk: New Perspectives on Risk Perception. Earthscan, London.

Standards Australia (2009) AS/NZS 31000:2009 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines.

Standards Australia. (2010) Handbook 327: 2010 Communicating and Consulting about Risk.

Sunstein, C., (2002) Risk and Reason. Cambridge University Press, London.

Sunstein, C., (2005) Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle. Cambridge Uni Press, London.

Sunstein, C., (2006) Infotopia, How many minds produce knowledge. Oxford. London.

Sunstein, C., (2014) On Rumours. Princeton University Press. Princeton.

Sunstein, C., (2014) Conspiracy Theories and other Dangerous Ideas. Simon and Schuster. New York.

Taleb, N., (2007) The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Random House. New York.

Taleb, N., (2012) Antifragile. Allen Lane, London.

Thompson, K., (2004) Risk in Perspective. AORM, Newston Centre, Mass.

Turkle, S., (2011) Alone Together. Basic Books. New York.

Weick, K., (1979) The Social Psychology of Organizing. McGraw Hill, New York.

Zinn, J., (ed) (2008) Social Theories of Risk and Uncertainty, An Introduction. Blackwell, London


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