Constructing risk: Psychology, medicine and child welfare
In this paper, we examine the increasing theoretical and practical importance of 'risk' and 'risk factors' in applied psychological and medical settings. We argue that 'risk' has become relatively disentangled from individual persons,and has come instead to reside in a statistically-created hybrid of the personal, the social and the economic. To illustrate this theoretical point, we discuss the use of a medical technique in suspected cases of child sexual abuse: while 'risk' is a powerful instrument for thought and action in modern society, in the case we discuss it has met with much resistance, and ultimately can be refused in favour of older theoretical models such as dangerousness.
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