Promoting Risk: Constructing the Earthquake Threat (Social Problems and Social Issues (Walter Paperback))

Stallings, Robert A.

Published by Aldine Transaction, 1995
ISBN 10: 0202305457 / ISBN 13: 9780202305455
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The risk of a future catastrophic earthquake has never achieved the level of public concern accorded to such issues as crime, health care, economic conditions, or even pornography. This lack of concern might be explained as a function of our inability to control the geophysical processes that produce earthquakes. Yet a sociological theory of risk questions such a direct connection between physical forces and social reality, because human beings, not nature, create beliefs about risks. This examination of one type of risk, the threat of future catastrophic earthquakes, concentrates for the first time on the individuals and actions that result in the creation of risk, that is, the risk promoters and the process of promoting risk. It uses social constructionist theory to study claims-makers, the claims-making process, and the outcome of claims-making activities.

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Promoting Risk is a good book, written well enough for undergraduate courses and analyzed clearly enough for graduate students. The conceptual advance that allows me to recommend the book, as I do, to those searching for interesting ideas is in the way Stallings puts together extant theory on where social problems come from and resource mobilization theory... [S]ocial constructionism can be important and interesting, when it attends to the nonobvious. Robert Stallings has done a good job at both.”

—Lee Clarke, American Journal of Sociology

 “The physical conditions conducive to earthquakes exist in all 50 states, a majority of which could experience a serious quake. But whereas the probability of an earthquake is a constant human hazard, the threat to what humans value varies greatly... Despite this growing endangerment, few areas, including Clalifornia and other earthquake-prone sites, seem worried about the “Big One.” Why? In Promoting Risk: Constructing the Earthquake Threat, Robert Stallings seeks to unravel this puzzle... For those committed to the constructivist perspective, this book will likely be viewed as an exemplar of that theoretical genre. Indeed, at least as far as the social construction of risk goes, Promoting Risk is as good as it gets: it innovatively takes on a challenging, thought-provoking problem, attacks the problem with careful, deep deliberation, and weaves an interesting explanation of the problem.”

—Eugene A. Rosa, Social Forces

“In this well-written and often fascinating book, Robert Stallings, a sociologist at the University of South California, provides a cogent introduction to the constructionist theory of social problems. This theory offers a welcome complement to the sociology of scientific knowledge for understanding the public activities of scientists and engineers. Stallings also opens up the much-neglected field of natural hazards to serious scrutiny by sociologists and historians of science.”

—Carl-Henry Geschwing, Isis

“Well-researched and skillfully written, this study has a good deal in common with other... work that views hazards and other “risk objects”... This growing body of research points the sociology of disasters in one direction it needs to go—toward analyzing the organizational, institutional, and collective behavior processes through which positions on hazards are developed, marketed, and legitimized... [I]t should be widely read not only for its sophisticated treatment of disasters as social problems but also for its contribution to the constructivist debate, approach to political agenda setting, and insights into U.S. science policy.”

—Kathleen J. Tierney, Contemporary Sociology

“[This book] focus[es] on the disaster which, in the absence of any major occurrence in the U.S. in 12 years, has receded from public consciousness: earthquakes.”

—Eugene A. Rosa, Contemporary Sociology

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Title: Promoting Risk: Constructing the Earthquake ...
Publisher: Aldine Transaction
Publication Date: 1995
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Published by Routledge (1996)
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