Riskförståelse : Teoretiska och empiriska perspektiv
Sammanfattning: The thesis introduces the concept of ‘sense-making of risk’ (riskförståelse) for the purpose of the theoretical and empirical study of the individual’s sense-making of risk. Particular weight is attached to an examination of the term’s various components, its compass, and the relationship between sense-making of risk and behaviour. The premise is that risk is created and defined by the common conceptions that exist within the framework of a specific social context; the effect is to focus attention on the significance of social and cultural contexts. To provide a full picture of sense-making of risk, and risk behaviour, and to study these phenomena using a variety of methodological perspectives, the data was gathered from both polls and focus-group interviews. It is in the first article, based on a focus-group interview study, that the concept of sense-making of risk is introduced: the empirical results demonstrate that it can be used to chart how young people with similar risk perceptions differ in their understanding of a variety of risks. A theoretical model is proposed that establishes that there are two dimensions to the individual’s sense-making of risk. The second article considers young people’s risk behaviour in traffic milieus. The principal conclusion drawn in this study is that the individual’s sense-making of risk is insufficient to explain behaviour in relation to risk: the spatial context must also be taken into account. The third article focuses on the relationship between place attachment and sense-making of risk, and demonstrates that various aspects of place attachment have implications for the individual’s sense-making of risk. The fourth and final article offers a cluster analysis. The article’s most important result is its refinement of the theoretical concepts. Structure of meaning is singled out as the basis for the individual’s sense-making of risk. In its empirical application the concept was shown to be useful in studying the behavioural differences between various social groups, since grouping by structure of meaning furnishes an explanation for variations in risk and risk-reducing behaviour. The introductory and concluding chapters assemble the studies’ findings and offer a full account of the concept of sense-making of risk. The thesis’ most important conceptual contribution is to the question of how the individual arrives at a personal sense-making of risk. However, it will fall to future studies to establish the concept’s general applicability by considering its theoretical ramifications and empirical implementation. In this way, sense-making of risk can take its place in a specifically sociological conceptual apparatus that focuses on how the individual relates to risk.
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