Professional Risk: from Realism to Constructivism

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: National Research University «Higher School of Economics»
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 5

The article is devoted to the conceptualization of the idea of professional or occupational risk in the context of risk sociology. Assuming there is opposing epistemological positions for studying risk in sociology, the author identifies two approaches to the conceptualization of occupational risk: realistic and constructivist. In the first case, professional risk is interpreted as the likelihood of a real threat and possible damage to employees due to the impact on them of harmful production factors of different genesis. In the second case, professional risk is understood as possible decisions (actions) of an actor that are caused, on the one hand, by the framework of the profession’s «life world» (knowledge, skills, experience, norms). On the other hand the actor’s views on the possible costs/benefits are shaped in the course of professional activities. Author demonstrates the research perspectives and limitations of each of these approaches by referring to several examples from empirical sociological research.

Keywordsprofessional risk, realism, constructivism, sociology of risk
Publication date05.06.2019
Number of characters29841
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