chapter  8
10 Pages

Conclusions: towards an archaeology of accidents

Misfortunes are perhaps universal to human society, if ways of classifying them are not. This book began by noting that in late twentieth-century Britain some misfortunes become classified as accidents and that there was nothing inevitable about how this classification happened. A diverse range of misfortunes are identified as accidents, from the trivial to the tragic. The trivial are the subject of considerable everyday conversation, whereas the tragic are the cause of much human misery, and have been identified as a public health priority. Although this suggests accidents as an important subject for sociological study, there has been rather litde of this.