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Risk Society

  • By: Kimberly Field-Springer & Katie Margavio Striley
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Risk society is a critical social theory about human understanding of risks during the transitional change from modernity to late modernity. Risk society is a macroperspective whereby meanings of risks are formed from people's political, social, cultural, and economic surroundings. The risk society perspective offers three benefits for health communication scholars. It allows them to (1) determine meanings of risk and whom they affect, (2) reflexively interpret risks, and (3) identify consequences of individuals' risk constructions. Risk society is a crucial theoretical perspective for health communication scholars because, although risks themselves may be objectively real, individuals' perceptions of such risks are mutable. Thus, in a risk society individuals become responsible for the knowledge they produce and they distribute such knowledge to publics. Major contributors to ...

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