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From town planning to intimate sex: Understanding the risks in our lives

The recently formed Social Contexts and Responses to Risk network (SCARR) will be launched at a conference in Canterbury 28 - 29 January.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and co-ordinated by Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby and Dr Jens Zinn from the University of Kent, the SCARR network brings together social scientists from a wide range of backgrounds, including sociologists, psychologists, and media, law and social policy experts.

Risks are at the centre of virtually every choice we make in life, but a clear assessment of how psychology, economics and sociology can help governments manage new ones is overdue, according to researchers in a major new ESRC-funded programme.

The ESRC Social Contexts and Responses to Risk network brings together sociologists, psychologists, economists, and experts on social policy, the media, the law and other disciplines from 14 universities in nine linked projects.

They will examine perceptions of risk and responses to it in areas from town-planning to intimate sexual behaviour, from children's schooling to pensions, from house-purchase to social care, and from the food we eat to buying on the Internet.

The network is launched on January 28 by its Director, Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby, of the University of Kent, at the start of a special two-day international Learning about Risk conference at Canterbury, to be addressed by leading European and US experts on various aspects of risk. More than 70 academic papers will be presented.

It comes at a time when risk is a major theme in public policy-making and debate, as well as in academic research. There is recognition of risks as threats, especially the high-profile ones associated with political, social and technological changes, such as terrorism, greater flexibility in the labour market and in family patterns, nuclear power, GM foods and nanotechnology.

And there is increased attention by government to th
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Contact: Becky Gammon
becky.gammon@esrc.ac.uk
44-179-341-3122
Economic & Social Research Council
27-Jan-2005


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