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Thursday
Apr302015

Revisiting "cultural cognition as a conception of the cultural theory of risk"

I'm going to be giving a presentation at the 6th Annual Mary Douglas Seminar series at University College London next month.  I'm pretty psyched, b/c I've known about the series and always been really envious of the participants for their chance to exchange ideas with one another on the significance of Douglas's work for making sense of public conflict over risk and related topics.

I'll be presenting a paper-- which I'll post it in 2-3 weeks-- that extends/updates/qualifies an earlier one I did on relationship between "cultural cognition" &  Douglas & Wildavsky's cultural theory of risk.

Can ‘cultural cognition’ help solve CTR’s ‘mechanisms problem’?

My paper will address the contribution ‘cultural cognition’ makes to remedying a deficit in Cultural Theory relating to the psychological and behavioral mechanisms that connect cultural worldviews to individual risk perceptions. Indeed, ‘cultural cognition’ was self-consciously designed to forge the connection between the cultural and psychometric theories of risk that Douglas (1997) proposed in her essay ‘The Depoliticization of Risk.’ Prepared specifically for the conference, my paper will use this theme to animate a brief survey of ‘cultural cognition’ studies. It will also present new data suggesting how cultural cognition dynamics might be understood to support the so-called ‘mobility thesis’ (Rayner 1992), which sees institutions (or social contexts more generally) rather than individuals as the agents through which opposing worldviews operate to generate variance in risk perceptions. ‘Cultural cognition’ does not furnish a unique solution to Cultural Theory’s ‘mechanisms problem’; but without a solution, Cultural Theory, I will argue, cannot be expected to sustain a meaningful empirical research program for investigating societal conflict over risk.

Best thing: Steve Rayner will be my commentator-- maybe I'll just cede all my time to him so I don't mistake of talking too much & depriving myself & others of any of the benefit of hearing what he has to say.

 

 

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