Skip to main content

Unit information: Risk, Danger and Disaster in 2020/21

Unit name Risk, Danger and Disaster
Unit code SOCI30098
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Downer
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

none

Co-requisites

none

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

How probable is an accidental nuclear war? Why do men drive more dangerously than women, and 20 year-olds more dangerously than 30 year-olds? How seriously should we take climate change? Do crowds panic in disaster situations? Why do western societies see sex on tv as more ‘corruptive’ than violence? This course will look at all these questions and many more. Risk, danger and disaster are contested ideas, yet they frame everything from our relationship to modernity to our choice of breakfast food — we draw on them to construct our identities just as we invoke them to justify our state security policies. The course reflects this diversity; each week draws on a different literature around the theme of risk, danger and disaster to offer a window into the uncertainties and insecurities of modern life.

Unit aims:

  • To introduce students to a critical examination of risk, danger and disaster, and their role in western society and socio-political thought.
  • To outline different academic perspectives on the study of risk danger and disaster, and their relationships to each other.
  • To enable students to make detailed and appropriate use of these insights to develop an informed perspective on risk danger and disaster and apply it to a case study with contemporary relevance.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • critically examine the notions of risk, danger and disaster, and their role in western society and socio-political thought.
  • articulate and engage with different academic perspective on the study of risk, danger and disaster and analyze their relationship to each other.
  • Demonstrate ability to make detailed and appropriate use of these insights to develop an informed perspective on risk, danger and disaster and apply it to a case study with contemporary relevance.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

  • Formative essay (1500 words) (0%)
  • Summative Essay (3000 words) (100%)

Both assessments assess all learning outcomes

Reading and References

  • Lupton, D. (1999) Risk (Key Ideas). Routledge; New York.
  • Sagan, S. (1993) The limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents and Nuclear Weapons. Princeton University Press. Princeton.
  • Perrow, C. (1999) Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies, 2d ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press
  • Beck, U. (1992) Risk Society London: Towards a New Modernity. Sage.
  • Giddens, A. (1990) The Consequences of Modernity. Polity Press. Cambridge, UK.
  • Lyng, S. (ed) (2005) Edgework: The Sociology of Risk-Taking. New York: Routledge

Feedback