Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Erin Van Brunschot & Leslie W. Kennedy
The term risk has been used in criminology alternatively as a noun (i.e., “risk of crime” “taking a risk”), an adjective (i.e., “risky situation”), and a verb (i.e., “to risk one's reputation”). In each case, risk has been associated with negative situations, people, or outcomes. The original meaning of risk, however, suggesting either positive or negative processes, points to a far better understanding of the process of crime. Rather than perceiving risk as either a “descriptor” or a “thing,” as suggested by many of those who look at the construction of risk, risk is treated here as a process. Mary Douglas explains that the original meaning associated with risk implied neutrality—risk simply took into account the probability of losses or gains (1994: 23). The roll of a dice in a game of chance, for example, implies that the rolled dice may bring either wins or losses—the rolled dice itself is ...