chapter  5
12 Pages

Risk and vulnerability discourses in health

ByLiz Beddoe

The present era has been described as the ‘risk society’ (Beck, 1992). The construct of risk has a strong hold on contemporary society; with many suggesting that risk evokes ‘the cultural character of our times’ (Petersen and Wilkinson, 2008, p. 1). Essentially the sociological concept of the risk society depicts a world in which people and institutions focus energies on dangers and hazards emanating from the physical and social environments. In this way of understanding contemporary society, risk as a project requires that we all identify, assess and manage risks in everyday life. Thus risks, unaddressed and undiminished, threaten our security, health and wellbeing.