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Type: Journal article
Title: Risk perception and the presentation of self: Reflections from fieldwork on risk
Author: Smith, N.
Cebulla, A.
Cox, L.
Davis, A.
Citation: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 2006; 7(1):9-1-9-15
Publisher: Freie Universität Berlin
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 1438-5627
Statement of
Noel Smith, Andreas Cebulla, Lynne Cox & Abigail Davies
Abstract: The growth of sociological interest in how people perceive and experience everyday risk needs to be matched with more empirical research. This paper reflects on such a study, and discusses one of the methodological challenges this involved. The study adopts a narrative biographical method (loosely defined) to examine participants' decision-making in relation to their careers. To avoid prejudicing participants' responses about the extent to which notions of risk impact on their worldviews, explicit reference to "risk" was withheld in the interviews. Participants were not preoccupied with risk and, ostensibly, tended to distance themselves from their roles as agents. However, their stories provided examples of decision-making and risk-awareness. The paper argues that participants' presentation of self—or, in the context of the interviews, their narrative construction of identity—obscures their roles as life-planners. Thus, a challenge for empirical research of everyday risk is to disentangle how people identify and present themselves, and how they perceive themselves as agents in risk society.
Keywords: risk; narrative biography; agency; careers; life-planning
Rights: Copyright (c) 2006 Noel Smith, Andreas Cebulla, Lynne Cox, Abigail Davies. All articles in FQS are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Authors hold the copyright and retain publishing rights without restrictions.
RMID: 0030043393
Published version:
Appears in Collections:South Australian Centre for Economic Studies publications

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