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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"Risk" in Social Theory: Where are the Feminist Voices?


To read the front page of a newspaper or to work in many disciplines is to encounter the notion of risk. Stated simply, risk refers to the possibility that something negative may occur or that something positive may not occur. Most of the time risk connotes the possibility of a negative event, but in some quite specific contexts, ‘risk’ and ‘risk-taking’ take on a positive meaning, either in privileged contexts or when limits are being voluntarily explored or expanded. The New York Museum of Metropolitan Art’s 2004 exhibit, “SAFE: Design Takes on Risk,” reflects the increasing prominence of risk discourses and the kinds of ambiguous roles that risk and safety have come to play (Antonelli, 2005).

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