Myths of Nature: Culture and the Social Construction of Risk

  • Dake K
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Abstract

Western cultures are engaged in a highly contentious debate involving the identi- fication, assessment, and management of risks to the environment and to public health and safety. Daily claims of new dangers in the food, air, and water we consume, the chemicals, energy, and substances we use, and the products, processes, and artifacts that support us are exacerbating public fears regarding environmental and health hazards. Most research on the perception and commu- nication of risk has focused on possible harms, largely ignoring the cultural contexts in which hazards are framed and debated, and in which risk taking and risk perception occur. This article argues that, while individuals perceive risks and have concerns, it is culture that provides socially constructed myths about nature—systems of belief that are reshaped and internalized by persons, becom- ing part of their worldview and influencing their interpretation of natural phenomena. It

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Authors

  • Kar Dake

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