Annotated Bibliography: Risk Theories Essay Example

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Annotated Bibliography: Risk Theories

Annotated Bibliography: Risk Theories


In the 1960s, risk was a neutral term that was essentially concerned with depicting probabilities of gains and losses (Kahn, 1962). In the contemporary society, risk has been assimilated into several realisms or social constructs to depict undesirable or negative outcomes. The term is today synonymous with danger, insecurity, disaster and hazard. Indeed, risk is defined as the likelihood of undesirable outcomes. An underlying assumption is that the traditional perspectives of risk were concerned with the actuarial tables of life insurers to analyse risk within the business perspective or risk. In the modern theorem, a range of social sciences discusses how analyses have been created to offer more critical perspective that address the socially-constructed and historically-specific formulation of the idea of risk, as well as its assessment (Joffe, 2003). This annotative bibliography explores this dichotomy. It also develops a post-modern perspective on risk that confronts the traditional readings. Several theories of risk are explored to show the evolution, namely: Governmentality Perspective theory, Actor Network theory (ANT), Cultural theory of risk, Social theory of risk and Collective risk theory.

Actor-Network Theory

Cordella, A. & Shaikh, M. (2006). From Epistemology to Ontology: Challenging the Constructed ‘truth of ‘ANT’. Working Paper Series 143, March 2006. London: London School of Economics and Political Science

Summary: The paper introduces Actor-network Theory as a tool for interoperating phenomena rather than informing research. The central argument of the authors is that ANT has been forced to integrate the ontology of interpretivism, hence suppresses own ontology. Cordella and Shaikh show that unlike ANT, interpretivism is by nature constructivist. It is further indicated that while interpretivism considers the interpreter of the risks or problems as capable of constructing reality in the mind, ANT underscores the assumption that reality can only be constructed through the interplay of more than one actor and that the reality emerges externally of an individual’s mind.

International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, Dec 12-16 2011, pp. 1687-1694. Perth, WA: The Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealandth19Hong, J., Wenta, Y., Dora, M. & Xiumei, G. (2011). Risk analysis of GM crops technology in China: Modeling and governance, in F. Chan, D. Marinova and R.S. Anderssen (ed).

Hong et al. introduce the actor-network theory as appropriate for exploring risk assessment and governance of new technology, such as the genetically modified (GM) crops. Hong et al. further depict actor network theory as capable of sociological research analysis to examine technological development. It is established that by using the actor network theory, technological development is not regarded as a mutual fragmented framework between the social human actors and the non-human actors. Hong et al. (2011) showed that non-human actors interpret their own benefits based on the entire network, through a chain of translations to undertake technology within the actor-networks. Summary:

Latour, B. (1990). On actor-network theory. A few clarifications plus more than a few complications. Philosophia 25(3), 47-64

Latour shows that the actor-network theory was developed as an attempt to come up with a means of explaining agencies, such as the society, nature and entities. Latour explains that three resources have emerged over the years that address the agencies. The first is attributed to the agencies naturality, which relates to nature. The second is granting them sociality and binding them using social fabric. The third is considering them as semiotic construction and relating agency with the interpretation of meaning. Latour points out that the originality of science originated from the difficulty in distinguishing these three sources.Summary:

Law, J. (2009). Actor Network Theory and Material Semiotics. Ch7. The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Law explores the different definitions of Actor-network Theory. He viewed the theory as a tool and a method for analysis of social and the natural world as a continually generated effect of the network of relations where they are situated. Law points out that the Actor network theory is not in a theory since theories are supposed to explain an existence of a particular phenomenon or why something happened. Law concludes that actor network theory is descriptive rather than explanatory as it tells of how relations are established or not. The theory describes the enactment of discursively and materially heterogeneous relations that generate and change all forms of characters, whether human or nonhuman.Summary:

Pinto, H. (2010). Radiation, a Tumor and the ANT: An Actor-Network-Theory Approach to a Medical Spin-off Creation. EA Journal, 2(2),1-24

Summary: Pinto describes ANT as central to translating how participants attempt to translate their problems or exposures to risks. The study was based on the assumption that understanding the social is inadequate, since it is not possible to construct the social as a form of domain or material and to oppose the project of presenting social explanation of other underlying circumstances. The researcher illustrated the relevance of ANT due to its capability to address domains that have been inadequately addressed by other approaches. ANT also concentrates on the network, seeks to exemplify the dynamics of actors and underscores the function of translation enabler.

Saito, H. (2011). An Actor-Network Theory of Cosmopolitanism. Sociological Theory 29(2), 124-148

Summary: Saito shows that Actor-network theory (ANT) conceptualizes the human and non-human actors and depicts networks from the viewpoint of a participant. The study explored the underlying problem with the emergence of sociological literature that has explored cosmopolitanism. It is concluded that the main problem is the insufficient theoretical mechanism that explain the presumed causal core relation between development of cosmopolitan orientation and globalisation. Saito concluded that ANT clarifies how individuals of different nationalities develop attachment to form network structures that maintain cosmopolitan.

Somerville, I. (1999). Agency versus identity: actor-network theory meets public relations. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 4(1), 6-13

Summary: Somerville introduces Actor-network Theory as a theoretical perspective that can explain how entities are distributed and how they exercise power within certain spheres. Somerville demonstrates that focusing on the issue of identity is dependent on accepting and coming up with modern presuppositions. According to the study, such modern presuppositions seek to handle the creation of stable boundaries between objects and subjects. Somerville concludes that ANT should hypothesise the concept of agencies and how they provide alternative modern perspectives to explore the underlying risks facing actors.

Skaerbaek, P. & Vinnari, E. (2010). The roles of risk management technologies in the public sector. Retrieved: <>

Summary: depicted Actor network theory is intended to describe human and nonhuman objects as part of the social network. Skaerbaek and Vinnari explained that although risk management technologies are ubiquitous in the modern society, little is known of the risks associated with these technologies. The researchers drew on Actor-network Theory to approach risk management within the context of municipal risk audit to determine how to avoid future risks. Skaerbaek and Vinnari concluded that the audit leading to confusing scenario between the operational managers and auditors originate from the differences in personal interpretations of risks.

Williams-Jones, B. & Graham, J. (2003). Actor-Network Theory: a tool to Support Ethical analysis of commercial genetic testing. New Genetics and Society 22(3), 271-206

Williams-Jones& Graham describe the theory as intent to show humans and nonhumans as epistemologically equivalent for critical analysis. They are also actors with the capacity to act and to be acted upon. Williams-Jones and Graham show that actor-networks are made up of human and non-human actors. Williams-Jones & Graham explained that all actors within the network are independent and have the capacity to resist or accommodate, hence there must be glue that bind them in the network. The researchers showed that the glue is the translation. Summary:

100(7): 1208–1217.Am J Public Health Young, D., Borland, R. & Coghill, K. (2010). An Actor-Network Theory Analysis of Policy Innovation for Smoke-Free Places: Understanding Change in Complex Systems.

Young et al. depicts the actor network theory as capable of describing how heterogeneous elements are interwoven and set up into reality. Young et al. Shows that ANT is different from other theories since it maps out the full innovation process from the start to the eventual implementation, while focusing on the correlation between the scientific evidence and the description of networks that employ evidence. In regards to policy innovation for smoke-free places, Young et al. show that actor network theory is not a predictive tool. Rather, it is a descriptive tool that identifies the links that facilitate policy innovation.Summary:

Cultural theory of risk

Braman, D. & Kahan, D. (2003). More Statistics, Less Persuasion: A Cultural Theory of Gun-Risk Perceptions. U. Pa. L. Rev. 151 (1291), 1-37

Summary: In describing cultural theory, Braman, D. & Kahan show that culture plays a significant role in determining individual’s attitudes towards threats to the society. The study aimed at establishing factors that motivate individuals to agree or disagree with policies and laws on gun regulation. The researchers used cultural theory of risk to show that people’s positions on gun control originate from their cultural worldviews. Findings suggested that while individuals of solidaristic or egalitarian tend to show support for gun control, those of individualistic or egalitarian orientation opposed the regulations.

Childs, A. (2013).»Cultural Theory and Acceptance-Based Security Strategies for Humanitarian Aid Workers.» Journal of Strategic Security 6(1), 64-72

Summary: Childs portrays cultural theory of risks as explaining how communities and social units reveal shared attitudes and worldviews that can be characterised by “group” and “grid.” The study examines how humanitarian aid agencies have relied, essentially on acceptance, as the fundamental risk with evidence suggesting that the strategy has become ineffective. Cultural theory is used to examine the limitations. It is concluded that a new approach based on the theory should be used to develop security strategies that take account of the social environment.

Elliott, E. (1983). Risk and Culture: An Essay on the Selection of Technical and Environmental Dangers. Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 2192.

Summary: Elliott perceives cultural theory or risk perception as incapable of ignoring the reality of danger. The social principles are what determine the real dangers that people select to pay attention to. Elliot conducted a document analysis of articles that explored cultural theory. Elliot concluded that many cultural factors help in understanding the patterns of public fear.

Gephart, R., R., Maanen, J. & Oberlechner, T. (2009). Organizations and Risk in Late Modernity. Organization Studies 30(02&03), 141–155

Summary: Gephart et al. shows that cultural theory postulates that a risk is never completely objective outside moral positions or belief systems. Rather, they are embedded in cultures that give them meaning. The research shows that culture helps individual to perceive risks and to contribute to collective notions of risks. In a study to examine how organisations approach risks in late modernity, Gephart et al. conclude that reputation risk within an organisation is a humanly-constructed risk.

New York: Springer Publishing, Handbook of Risk Theory.Kahan, D. (2008). Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk.

Kahan shows that cultural theory suggests that individuals form beliefs on societal dangers that depict and strengthen their commitment to conceptualised forms of social ordering. Kahan examines cultural cognition approach to test cultural theory of risk empirically. Kahan concludes that among the features that make cultural cognition distinct is its capability to measure people cultural worldviews and risk perceptions.

Oltedal, S., Moen, B.m Klempe, H. & Rundmo, T. (2004). Explaining risk perception. An evaluation of cultural theory. Rotunde: Rotunde Publikasjoner

Summary: Oltedal et al. depict cultural theory as significant for examining risk interpretation and risk perceptions. Oltedal et al explain that cultural theory of risk predicts and explains what kind of individuals will conceive and what potential risks should be viewed as dangerous. Oltedal et al. sought to evaluate the significance of cultural theory in risk perception researches. Findings suggested that individuals select what to fear and how much fear should be accorded based on the social aspects.

O’Riordan, T., Langford, H. & Marris, C. (1998).A quantitative test of the cultural theory of risk perceptions: comparison with the psychometric paradigm. Risk Anal. 18(5):635-47.

Summary: O’Riordan describes cultural theory as providing indicators for fundamental beliefs concerning the trust and the environment. O’Riordan further showed that cultural biases are best interpreted as worldviews. O’Riordan’s study sought to compare psychometric paradigm and cultural theory. The study found that the psychometric paradigm generated qualitative risk characteristics that, to a far greater extent than cultural theory, explain the variance in risk perceptions.

5(2), 147-165Journal of Risk ResearchRippl, S. (2002). Cultural theory and risk perception: a proposal for a better measurement.

Rippl describes cultural theory as suggesting that individuals are integrated into a particular social structure and that their attitudes, values and perspectives are shaped by their social context. The study explored culture theory and risk perception with a view of proposing a better measurement. Two questions were explored: whether cultural theory is testable at individual-level through quantitative studies and the validity of measurement instruments for determining quantitative paradigm. Rippl concluded that individual-level measurement is a measure of processes linked to culture. Second, cultural theory contributes greatly to better measurement since it overcomes constraints.Summary:

1(1), 71-90 Health, Risk & Society Tansey, J. & O’Riordan, T. (1999). Cultural theory and risk: a review.

Tansey and O’Riordan describe cultural theory as a framework for analysis of how people interpret danger and establish trust or distrust. The paper examined the theoretical basis of cultural theory. Tansey and O’Riordan conclude that the basis of the theory is to show that the perceived threats of dangers are not formed independently from social context. Rather, they are a component of an evolving social discussion on justice and rights. Tansey and O’Riordan explored the theoretical basis of cultural theory and traced its passage with the risk literature, in order to establish its value in the risk management issues.

Zinn, J. (2006). Recent Developments in Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty. Forum Qualitative Research 7(1),

Summary: Zinn describes cultural theory of risk as culturally-give way of responding to risk of the boundaries of a society, organisations or group and its portrayal of reality and means to maintain social order. The study examines the current developments in theorising of risks. The shifts in cultural theory from focus on society to reflexive modernisations are explored. Zinn concludes that risk and uncertainties are socially constructed.

Social Theory of Risk

Beck, U. (2006). Living in the world risk society. Economy and Society 35(3), 329-345

Summary: In depicting the social theory of risk, Beck showed that in a world risk society, financial and ecological dangers must be distinguished to establish which should be interpreted as side effects, and terrorism threats as intentional catastrophes and the susceptibility of the modern society as replacing the rule of accident and chance. Beck concluded that state structures that evolve under ‘world risk society’ conditions should be described in terms of post-democratic authority and inefficiency. Hence, a distinction between inefficiency and rule must be established.

Cottle, S. (1998). Ulrich Beck, ‘Risk Society’ and the Media: A Catastrophic View? European Journal of Communication 13(1), 5-32

Summary: Cottle used Beck’s ‘risk society’ perspective that used the social theory of the later modern society and its potential to generate catastrophic risks. Cottle’s article presented a critical description of the ‘risk society’ ideas on mass media. Cottle showed that the ideas are attributed to the broader social theoretical views on the historically unsurpassed nature of modern risks, as well as, the ‘reflexive modernisation’ processes.

Fox, M. (2009). “Risk” in social Theory: Where are the Feminist Voices? UCLA Center for the Study of Women. Retrieved: <>

Summary: Fox showed that there is no overriding social theory of risk. Rather, risk should best be understood by certain approaches that depict its range of ideologies, viewpoints and versions of social theory. Fox further shows that each risk fact is the product of a variety of interests. Fox concludes that social theories of risk shows processes that are concerned with the human condition, based on Beck’s risk society concept.

Joffe, H. (2003). Risk: From perception to social representation. British Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 55–73

Summary: In describing social theory of risks, Joffe derives his perspective from the risk society as referring to the conditions of the modern society where individuals have high awareness of a range of risks, although they lack trusts in people who they should rely on to protect them. The paper explored how people interpret risks that they are exposed to. It is concluded that interpretation and response to risk is greatly social, symbolic and emotive.

Lim, W. (2011). Understanding Risk Governance: Introducing Sociological Neoinstitutionalism and Foucauldian Governmentality for Further Theorizing. Int. J. Disaster Risk Sci, 2 (3): 11–20

Summary: Lim introduces the governmentality theory based on the perspective of risk of governance, which describes how several actors, processes, mechanisms and rules seek to collect, analyse and communicate risk information or make decisions to manage risks. Lim explore how governmentality tolerates particular degree or risk within the society and how it seeks balance of governance between the government and the society. Lim concludes that regulatory power is shared between the government and non-government workers.

Lupton, D. (1999). Risk and Sociocultural theory: New Directions and Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Summary:In approaching social theory of risk, Lupton shows that the basis is on sociological analyses of risk perception, where knowledge and moral dimension of risk inform perceptions of risk. Lupton discussed that in postmodernism perspective, risks are not regarded as absolutes. Additionally, hazards are given a similar perspective, which are the circumstances that make up risks. Lupton investigated ways in which risk or hazard dichotomy should be reasoned out instead of using culturalist and realist perspectives. Lupton concluded that construction of nature is based on the lens of culture.

Matten, D. (2004). The impact of the risk society thesis on environmental politics and management in a globalizing economy – principles, proficiency, perspectives. Journal of Risk Research 7 (4), 377–398

Summary: Matten approaches social theory of risk within the context of ‘risk society’, where the societies are hypothesized to be exposed to risk that are not covered by any form of insurance. The paper seeks to identify the major significance and implications of the ‘risk society’ concept. It is concluded that the approach makes significant contribution to environmental politics. It is further established that globalization and risk are a demonstration of a similar phenomenon.

O’Malley, P. (2008). Experiments in risk and criminal justice. Theoretical Criminology 12, 451-469

Summary:O’Malley shows that risk has not been viewed positively by most social theories of risk, specifically by Beck’s ‘risk society.’ O’Malley depicts risk to be extremely variable governmental technology shaped by the modern political environment. The researcher concluded that governmental analytic should be used to formulate strategic knowledge of risk through analysis of the existing social approaches to risk, such as reduction of harm and restoring justice.

Wahleburg, A. (2001). The theoretical features of some current approaches to risk perception. Journal of Risk Research 4 (3), 237–250

Summary: Wahleburg describes social theories based on the premise that risk perception by individuals is multidimensional and measurable by reflecting the features or risks that significantly shape human perceptions of risk. Wahleburg explores the social theory using three approaches, namely Basic Risk Perception Model, the psychometric and risk perception. Wahleburg concludes that the three models qualify as approaches to social theory, although there is no much ground for using risk perception theory.

Wilkinson, I. (2001). Social Theories of Risk Perception: At Once Indispensable and Insufficient. Current Sociology 49(1), 1-22

Summary: In describing social theory of risk, Wilkinson shows that the theory takes a realist position in placing risks and hazards as inconsistent with subject feelings of fear and anxiety. Wilkinson provided a critical comparative review of the social theories of risk. Wilkinson showed that the contrasting perceptions on social processes that individuals use to negotiate meaning of threats in terms of risk are insufficient enough to explain the cultural complexity of the phenomenon. Wilkinson concluded that cultural significance risk is a product of social concern.

Zinn, J. (2009). The sociology of risk and uncertainty – current state and perspectives. Melbourne: University of Melbourne

Summary:In depicting the social theories of risk, Zinn uses the risk society approach to argue that environmental and technological risks, such as climate change and global economic crisis strongly impact the transformation of modern-day societies. Zinn examines how sociology risk and uncertainty have become of great interest with several approaches — such as governmentality perspective, systems theory and cultural approach — emerging, hence raising concern on whether risk sociology should be subjected to empirical research. Zinn concludes that it is essential to clarify the conceptual foundations of sociology of risks to enable theoretical advances.

Collective Risk Theory

Djuric, Z. (2013). Collective Risk Model In Non-Life Insurance. Economic Horizons 15(2), 167-175

Summary: Through analysis of the major insurance processes, Djuric shows that collective risk theory is focused on modelling claims as the financial outcomes of unanticipated incidents. The paper explores the key results of the collective risk model for main business process of non-life insurance company. It is concluded that within the context of risk theory, they are considered as random processes that offer a broad variety of likelihoods of structuring particular business problems. In addition, the intricacy of the prediction of the financial outcomes for claims on non-life insurance is based on the structure of the liability of the insurers.

Hayne, R. (1989). Application of Collective Risk Theory To Estimate Variability In Loss Reserves. Retrieved: <>

Summary: Hayne introduces collective risk theory as a model that aims to explain the question of wealth distribution of the entire reserves by structuring the claim processes that confront an insurer. The theory considers the interaction between the distribution of the total number of claims and how the individual claims are distributed through calculation of the loss or total reserves. It is concluded that the theory only addresses particular portions of the likely variability in estimation of reserves.

Iglehart, D. (1961). Diffusion Approximations in Collective Risk Theory. J. App. Prob. 6, 285-292

Summary: Iglehart describes collective risk theory as a model that is concerned with the random variation of an insurance company’s total number of assets and risk reserves. The researcher explained that the theory applies to companies that deal only with ordinary insurance companies, such as, fire, whole life, accidents, health and disability.

Kahn, P. (1962). An Introduction of Collective Risk Theory and Its application to Stop-loss Reinsurance. Transaction of Society of Actuaries 14(40), 440-448

Summary: Kahn introduced collective theory as the risk of an enterprise as a whole is investigated. Primary focus is not on losses, gains or claims from individual policies. Rather, it is on the total amount of claims and the total gains that arise from each individual policy, found in the portfolio. Kahn investigated the introduction of collective risk theory in stop-loss insurance. He concluded that collective risk theory takes into account two main problems, namely: investigating the distribution functions of total gains or claims in a risk enterprise and examining the probability of risk reserve of the risk enterprise.

Mahmoudvand, R. & Edalatu, A. (2009). On the Distribution of Discounted Collective Risk Model. J. Statist. Res. Iran 6, 193–207

Summary: Mahmoudvand and Edalatu describe the collective risk theory as model that aims to develop the probability of distribution of the aggregate amount of claims that are paid out in a particular time period. The study aimed to establish the key advantage of the model. Mahmoudvand and Edalatu discussed that many application of collective risk theory, the idea of the density of the aggregate claims plays a critical role in determining the probability of the aggregate claims over a particular period of time. It was concluded that its main advantage is its computationally efficient model that is relatively close to reality.

Michna, Z. (1998). Self-similar processes in collective risk theory. Journal of Applied Mathematics and Stochastic Analysis,11(4), 429-448

Summary:Michna shows that risk theory is concerned with random variation of the overall assets and the risk reserves of insurance companies. The paper examined the continuous processes with the stationary increases for the renewal approach in risk theory. Michna constructs a risk model that portrays the mechanism for long-term dependence of claims.

Migon, H. & Moura, F. (2005). Hierarchical Bayesian collective risk model: an application to health insurance. Insurance: Mathematics and Economics 36(2), 119-135

Summary: Migon and Moura approach collective risk theory as a model that deals with the random variation of the total number of claims or losses. The paper was concerned with the key statistical steps followed in coming up with an insurance plan. Migon and Moura proposed the Bayesian collective risk model, which consists of generalising the collective risk theory.

Myers, G. & Schener, N. (n.d.). Parameter Uncertainty in the Collective Risk Model. Casualty Actuarial Society, 111-141. Retrieved: <>

Summary: Myer and Schener described collective risk theory as a model that seeks to provide a means of determining the probability of loss that arises out of an insurance contract, and which is expected to surpass a given amount. The calculation is performed in regards to the underlying severity of claims and the distribution of claim count. Myers and Schener aimed to propose a new approach of the collective risk model that permits uncertainty in selection of the anticipated amount of claims and the severity of the claim distribution.

Wolf, K. (n.d.) Collective Theory of Risk and Utility Functions. Actuaries 6(1), 6-10

Summary: Wolf defined collective theory of risk as a model that seeks to generalise the total future development of a fixed insurance structure. Wolf showed that this can be attained by investigating the anticipated dividend payment and the probability of the ruins in each insurance year. The generalisation consists of examining the total future development of the insurance company, instead of examining a single insurance year.

World Finances. (2011). Collective Risk Model in Insurance. Retrieved: <>

Summary: Collective risk theory is depicted as an approach that seeks to model the total amount of claims that accrues during a specific period or financial year, within a specific insurance portfolio. The model assumes that in a homogenous insurance portfolio, the claims that are realised from a certain insurance event are distributed identically. The theory is distinguished from individual risk theory, which is concerned with the risks that correspond to certain individual insurance policies.

Governmentality Perspective Risk

Althaus, C. (2005). A Disciplinary Perspective on the Epistemological Status of Risk. Risk Analysis, 25(3), 567-588

Summary: Althaus describes the governmentality perspective as postulating that risk is a heterogeneous governance tactic of corrective power through which people are monitored and governed to attain the objectives of democratic humanism. Hence, society uses risk technologies, such as surveillance, financial information and governmental files. Althaus shows that risk privatisation is common and refers to processes where modern-day governance transfers population risk data to people who are supposed to exercise responsibility for own conducts, through monitoring, expert advice or surveillance.

Cotoi. C. (2007). Neoliberalism: a Foucauldian Perspective. International Review of Social Research 1(2), 109-124

Summary: Cotoi introduces the governmentality model as an umbrella concept that seeks to explain the tactic, processes and strategies of governing, regulating or controlling of the society. The researcher observed that the term can be applied in a wide area of expertise, such as in business, environment or technology. Cotoi shows that the theory explains that the world is a product of governance. It was concluded that the underlying risks emerge in governance, such as security at workplace.

Dean, M. (2010). Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society. Foucault Studies, 10, 169-172.

Summary: Dean shows that governmentality theory of risk attempts to explain an analytics of government, where the changing technologies and rationalities used in government, improve and expose societies to risks. The technologies and rationalities give a range of programs aimed at governing the behaviours of populations and other entities that are political in nature within the society.

Elden, S. (2007). Rethinking Governmentality. Political Geography 26, 29-33

Summary: Elden depicts the governmentality theory of risk based on the politics of space and organisation, where people are concerned with the apparatuses of security designated to them, through which they self-regulate town planning and preventing food shortages. Elden discusses that in rethinking governmenrality, the spaces of security, normalising security and technologies of security constitute how people self-regulate and generate social risks.

Fejes, A. (2008). European citizens under construction – the Bologna process analysed from a governmentality perspective. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(4), 515-530.

Summary: Fejes introduces governmentality theory of risk in terms of the risks associated with balance state governance and individual self-regulation. Fejes shows that the state is a means of governing and has constructed patterns on how to govern. An underlying risk however is that allowing subjects to self-regulate themselves increases social risks. In respect to the narrative of threat, Fejes shows that if certain measures are not taken to monitor individual self-regulation, then there is a risk that something bad will happen.

Kascak, O. & Pupala, B. (2011). Governmentality — Neoliberalism — Education: the Risk Perspective. Journal of Pedagogy 2(1). 145-158

Summary: Kascak and Pupala describe Governmentality risk theory as concerned with political and social government, which views social risks as lack of employment or illiteracy. Kascak and Pupala investigated the basic elements of governmentality and neoliberalism as technologies for government education, based on risk perspective. It is concluded that neoliberalism has embedded itself as a collective phenomenon in education through lifelong community leaning.

Peters, M., Besley, A., Olssen, M., Maurer, S. & Weber, S. (2009). Governmentality Studies in Education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers

Summary: Peters et al. Observes that governmentality is a source of social model that explains the self-limitation of the government as the key reasons for social risks. Peters et al. shows that promoting a relationship between knowledge and governance is achieved through politics and expert systems, individualisation and privatisation of risk management and developing new forms or accounting. Peters concludes that the new forms of governance, instead of the quality of risks, constitute the underlying causes of risk in a society.

Singer, M. & Baer, H. (2008). Killer Commodities: Public Health and the Corporate Production of Harm. New York: Rowman Altamira

Summary: In respect to governmentality theory or risk, Singer and Baer show that rationalisation of risk and ways in which it is distributed within the contemporary society is perceivable in the society. In the theory, allocation of risk occurs through a sequence of calculations of the normal behaviour and the health outcomes of the society. Singer and Baer explore public health and how the government controls harmful products. They concluded that while the public regulate themselves, through expert knowledge allocated by institutions, the government regulates drugs.

Swift, K. & Callahan, M. (2009). At Risk: Social Justice in Child Welfare and Other Human Services. University of Toronto Press

Summary: In depicting governmentality theory of risk, Swift and Callahan explain that some realism of knowledge required for governance have been allocated outside the confines of the state and into the market that may make the government to seem like it is reducing itself. In examining govermentality, in respect to child welfare and other human services, Swift and Callahan conclude that people have been allocated government technologies to measure risks and to regulate themselves through social forms and norms, which increase social risks as risk assessments are not done.


Traditionally, perspectives of risk were concerned with the actuarial analysis of life insurers to explore risks and hazards in the businesses. The modern theorem takes divergent yet all-encompassing view of risks as threats to financial, health, food, information, defence and economic security. A range of social sciences set out how analyses have been created to offer more critical perspective that address the socially-constructed and historically-specific formulation of the idea of risk as well as its assessment. Indeed, the concept of risk has transformed over the last years to be more expansive. In the post-modern era it contributes to how people perceive the modern life with the cultural values, moral rights, health issues and work. The postmodern risks theories are not intended to challenge traditional perspectives of risk. Rather, they suggest that risk should be perceived as contingent with the individual lives and their perceptions on decision-making agenda in regards to the broad domain of security.