The Moral Construction of Risk

  • Leslie T. Roth
Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

The development of a sociology of morality calls for engagement with what Max Weber considered the world of facts and the world of values. Increasingly, what people know to be true, good, right, healthy or dangerous is communicated through the language of risk. Morality and risk intersect at boundaries and borders of all kinds, in techniques of governance, and in the discourse of cultural narratives and codes. Exploring diverse perspectives on the reality of risk helps us to recognize and understand varieties of moral discourse. This chapter examines literature from various risk perspectives that emphasizes the connections between morality and risk, allowing us to see how different attitudes toward the reality of risk lead to a focus on particular aspects of morality. I argue for a weak constructionist/cultural-symbolic perspective as offering the broadest avenues for research into how morality and risk intersect. This perspective allows for an understanding of morality as a potential means of social control; but also allows investigation into the ways affectively laden cultural narratives help individuals, groups, and nations constitute themselves as socially embedded moral actors.

Keywords

Cage Cocaine Assure Hunt Defend 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie T. Roth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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