This course will examine how individuals and groups define and manage risk and uncertainty in everyday life. We will discuss differences in risk tolerance, when and why risk-taking behavior is encouraged and rewarded, when and why it is discouraged and punished, how risks and rewards are distributed, and the consequences of misestimating risk.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to: (1) explain major theories of risk (e.g., Edgework, Risk Society, and Governmentality), (2) explain changes in the meaning of risk, (3) explain why individuals engage in voluntary risk-taking behaviors, and (4) explain how and for what purpose various social actors define risk (e.g., the government, the scientific community, etc.).
Handouts and Downloads
01/15 - Syllabus
01/22 - Risk Quotes (for an in-class exercise)
01/24 - Objective probability lecture
01/29 - Subjective probability lecture
01/31 - Real and Perceived Risks: The Cognitive Science Perspective, Results from our class survey (Ranking risks)
02/05 - The Normalization of Deviance, Challenger Data
02/07 - Exam 1 Review Guide
02/14 - Visual Sociology Project
02/26 - Overview of the classes on Risk Society
02/28 - Food Inc. Discussion Questions
03/07 - Exam 2 Review Guide
03/19 - Risk Society Theory and Science
04/04 - Adventure Tourism Web Pages (Pay attention to the framing of risk and adventure): REI Adventures, Shotover Jet
04/09 - Web resources to help with your visual projects: How to paraphrase, ASA Style Guide
04/16 - Photo Essay Announcement
04/18 - Journals that publish or may publish photo essays: Contexts, Fast Capitalism, Social Eyes, Sociological Insight
04/23 - A Good Source for Information on Migration, Photographs of the US - Mexico border from National Geographic
04/25 - See me for a few handouts; Other examples from class: Guide for the Mexican Immigrant: English, Spanish, Border Angels, "Frijole" by Molotov, "Jose Perez Leon" by Los Tigres del Norte
05/02 - Exam 3 Review Guide
Arnoldi, Jakob. 2009. Risk: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Available in the UTA Library Course Reserves - Direct Link to the Reserves; How to Access the E-Reserves
Barthelme, Frederick and Steven Barthelme. 2006. “Good Losers.” Pp. 291-314 in The Sociology of Risk and Gambling Reader, edited by James F. Cosgrave. New York: Routledge.
Edwards, Nelta. 2008. “An Ounce of Precaution.” Contexts 7(2): 26-30.
Fine, Gary Alan and Bill Ellis. 2010. “Migrants: Disease in the Body Politic.” Pp. 95-122 in The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration, and Trade Matter. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lois, Jennifer. 2005. “Gender and Emotion Management in the Stages of Edgework.” PP. 117-152 in Edgework: The Sociology of Risk-Taking, edited by Stephen Lyng. New York: Routledge.
Muchembled, Robert. 1985. “A World of Insecurity and Fears.” Pp. 14-42 in Popular Culture and Elite Culture in France 1400-1750, by Robert Muchembled, Translated by Lydia Cochrane. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press.
Pauwels, Luc. 2009. “The Urban Canvas.” Contexts 8(4): 54-61.
Schwalbe, Michael. 2008. “Smoke Damage.” Contexts 7(2): 50-57.
Sheridan, Lynnaire M. 2009. “Delving into the Migrant’s World.” Pp. 31-79 in “I Know it’s Dangerous:” Why Mexicans Risk their Lives to Cross the Border. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.
Vaughan, Diane. 1996. “Risk, Work Group Culture, and the Normalization of Deviance.” Pp. 77-118 in The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Available online through the UTA Library - UTA Library Main Page
Cater, Carl I. 2006. “Playing with Risk? Participant Perceptions of Risk and Management Implications in Adventure Tourism.” Tourism Management 27: 317-325.
Sanders, Teela. 2004. “A Continuum of Risk? The Management of Health, Physical and Emotional Risks by Female Sex Workers.” Sociology of Health & Illness 26(5) 557-574.
Slovic, Paul. 1987. “Perception of Risk.” Science 236(4799): 280-285.
To find these required articles, you should use the UTA Library web page. Start by searching for the name of the Journal (in italics below). You can search for the journal name directly here (in 'Books and more') or in the E-Journal Collection. Once you locate the online journal, the next step is to browse by year to the correct year. Following that, use the volume, issue, and page numbers to find the specific reading. For the Sanders listing above: 26 is the volume, 5 is the issue, and the pages are 557-574.
Feel free to use the online tutorials or contact a reference librarian for help.
You must use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox to access the reserve materials. If you are using an Apple product, you should download the Firefox browser onto your computer.
UTA Library Main Page (Search here for most required readings)
UTA Library Course Reserves Information
Direct Link to the Reserves
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