Cultural Theory asserts that structures of social organization endow individuals with perceptions that understanding the times a survey of competing worldviews pdf those structures in competition against alternative ones. Cultural Theory has given rise to a diverse set of research programs that span multiple social science disciplines and that have in recent years been used to analyze policymaking conflicts generally. Two features of Douglas’s work inform the basic structure of Cultural Theory.
The first of these is a general account of the social function of individual perceptions of societal dangers. Individuals, Douglas maintained, tend to associate societal harms—from sickness to famine to natural catastrophes—with conduct that transgresses societal norms. This tendency, she argued, plays an indispensable role in promoting certain social structures, both by imbuing a society’s members with aversions to subversive behavior and by focusing resentment and blame on those who defy such institutions. The second important feature of Douglas’s work is a particular account of the forms that competing structures of social organization assume. Later works in Cultural Theory systematized this argument. A variety of scholars have presented survey data in support of Cultural Theory. Later researchers have refined Dake’s measures and have applied them to a wide variety of environmental and technological risks.
Such studies furnish an indirect form of proof by showing that risk perceptions are distributed across persons in patterns better explained by culture than by other asserted influences. Other scholars have presented more interpretive empirical support for Cultural Theory. Developed in case-study form, their work shows how particular risk-regulation and related controversies can plausibly be understood within a group-grid framework. Cultural Theory is an alternative to two other prominent theories of risk perception. Such deeply ironic statements are scattered through her work as indicating an unattainable mirage of ‘positionlessness’: understanding and knowledge must, for Douglas, always emerge from a particular, partial, position, as is evident from the opening chapters of her 1982 book with Wildavsky.
Theorists working with Cultural Theory have adapted its basic components, and in particular the group-grid typology, to matters in addition to risk perception. The Cultural Theory of risk has been subject to a variety of criticisms. Complexities and ambiguities inherent in Douglas’s group-grid scheme, and the resulting diversity of conceptualizations among cultural theorists, lead Åsa Boholm to believe the theory is fatally opaque. Commentators have also critiqued studies that purport to furnish empirical evidence for Cultural Theory, particularly survey studies, which some argue reflect unreliable measures of individual attitudes and in any case explain only a modest amount of the variance in individual perceptions of risk. Wicked problems and clumsy solutions: Planning as expectation management. Risk perception and social anthropology: critique of Cultural Theory.
Orienting dispositions in the perception of risk: An analysis of contemporary worldviews and cultural biases. Berkeley: University of California Press. Fear of democracy: A cultural critique of Sunstein on risk. Cambridge: New York: Cambridge University Press. Public perceptions of health risks from polluted coastal bathing waters: A mixed methodological analysis using Cultural Theory. Grid-Group Cultural Theory: An introduction. A Quantitative test of the Cultural Theory of risk perceptions: Comparison with the psychometric paradigm.
The role of affect and worldviews as orienting dispositions in the perception and acceptance of nuclear power. Environmental risk concern and preferences for energy-saving measures. Cultural Theory and risk analysis. World views, political attitudes, and risk perception.
Social benefit versus technological risk. Toward cultural analysis in policy analysis: picking up where Aaron Wildavsky left off. This page was last edited on 27 January 2018, at 17:21. You Don’t Just Drink It! Horn Dance or Stag Night?
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