This article provides a critical comparative review of ulrich becks and mary douglass social theories of risk the author is particularly concerned to highlight the partiality of their favoured renditions of the social reality of risk perception in relation to the accumulated evidence of empirical research. Social theories of risk presents a broad retrospective view of the state of the theory in the social sciences written by many who have been on the cutting edge of risk research since its early days the book includes both established and novel perspectives that address the theoretical foundations of the field and reflect what we know about risk as a psychological social and cultural phenomenon. Social theories of risk traces the intellectual origins and histories of twelve of the established and emerging paradigms from the perspective of their principal proponents each contributor. This essay is an introductory chapter to some different ways in which social theorists have approached the concept of risk and various processes which this concept is applied to the chapter is published in elliott a ed the routledge handbook
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