Risk and Health: Epidemiology and the new forms of governance
Safety at Work Metropolitano de Lisboa Lisboa, Portugal
Departamento de Ciência Sociais e Humanas ? Área de Sociologia Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Lisboa Lisboa, Portugal
The risk as a social phenomenon has gained prominence in certain aspects, both in scientific and lay knowledge. The literature included in the field of social sciences has largely proved that the risks are in part socially constructed phenomena. The concerns that some risks can bring to societies (e.g., from lay perceptions) and how these risks can be managed politically are two dimensions that are usually linked, although not always revealing coincident perspectives. The political field has to consider and articulate the knowledge from experts and from lay people (or better, risk perception) while two different ways of interpretation of social reality. The study of the epidemiology associated with the risk has shown that certain consequences of such risks may be categorized, or better, may be found certain social regularities. For example, Farr found in the mid-nineteenth century that the risk of death by accident was somewhat calculable. This epidemiological information allows us to assess what types of risks that most affect the societies, enabling the creation of mechanisms to prevent and minimize social risks.
The study of the epidemiology associated with risk, as characterized perspective of the principal risks affecting the societies, as well as the theories of the risk governmentality, framed in a political, regulatory or management of risk, are two points that we want to develop in this paper, but the possible approaches to risk are far from being exhausted in these two aspects.