Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: March 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939645 | Print ISBN: 9781412916080 | Online ISBN: 9781412939645| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 67: The Sociology of Risk
R. SCOTT FREY & SABRINA MCCORMICK & EUGENE A. ROSA
The sociology of risk Since their evolutionary origins humans have been confronted with risk—threats to themselves and what they value. It will always be so, even if the threats change dramatically, from that of the saber-toothed tigers threatening our ancestors to the possibility of runaway nanotechnologies facing our descendents. Roots of the idea of risk, that humans can exercise their unique quality of agency to anticipate, assess, avoid, or reduce risk consequences can be traced to very ancient times. For example, in the Tigris-Euphrates valley around 3200 BC lived a group called the Asipu who acted as a new type of seer, not as one who claims to foresee the future, but one who is consulted on risky, uncertain, or difficult decisions (Covello and Mumpower 1985). Still in ancient times, 1700 BC, the Code of Hammurabi included a variety of proscriptions about risk in its 282 clauses. But the early ...