Accidents & Emergencies: Risk, Welfare and Safety in Europe and North America, c.1750-2000
9-11 September 2013
Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
Co-organised by the Univeristy of Portsmouth, UK
Deadline for registration: 2 September 2013
Arwen Mohun (University of Delaware, USA)
Bill Luckin (University of Bolton, UK)
We live in a society obsessed with risk and safety. Via a medley of state-related and commercial agencies, we insure ourselves against the possibility of death, ill-health, accident, theft and unemployment, subjecting every facet of our lives to the calculus of risk. Meanwhile, a battery of signs, leaflets, manuals and adverts spread the message of ‘health and safety’, reminding us of the dangers lurking in our everyday actions.
Equally, notions of risk and safety go to the heart of our sense of collective welfare, and the complex relations of self, society and the State, and public and private agency. Indeed, for some sociologists, we live in a ‘risk society’, premised on the ‘reflexive’ processing of information, the prevention of the accidental and the unexpected, and the anxious desire to predict – even control – the future.
In sum, the aim of ‘Accidents and Emergencies’ is to:
•rethink the history of risk, welfare and safety;
•encourage a more integrated approach to their empirical study and conceptualisation;
•open up new historical and sociological perspectives through which we might better grasp the present.
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