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    ABSTRACT: This paper considers a key aspect of the 'risk society' thesis: the belief that we should be able to manage risks and control the world around us. In particular it focuses on the interface between risk and risk events as socially constructed and the insights that 'critical situations' give us into 'the routine and mundane', the otherwise taken for granted assumptions underlying risk regulation. It does this with reference to the events precipitated by the April 2010 volcanic eruption in the Eyjafjallajökull area of Iceland. The resulting cloud of volcanic ash spread across Europe and much of Europe's airspace was closed to civil aviation for six days, with far reaching consequences including huge financial losses for airlines. The social processes of defining and reacting to risk and crisis both reveal and generate dilemmas and challenges in regulation. This paper examines the role of different interest groups in defining risk expectations and thereby redefining the ash crisis as a regulatory crisis.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · British Journal of Sociology
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    ABSTRACT: Where does the nation-state end and globalization begin? In Territory, Authority, Rights , one of the world's leading authorities on globalization shows how the national state made today's global era possible. Saskia Sassen argues that even while globalization is best understood as "denationalization," it continues to be shaped, channeled, and enabled by institutions and networks originally developed with nations in mind, such as the rule of law and respect for private authority. This process of state making produced some of the capabilities enabling the global era. The difference is that these capabilities have become part of new organizing logics: actors other than nation-states deploy them for new purposes. Sassen builds her case by examining how three components of any society in any age--territory, authority, and rights--have changed in themselves and in their interrelationships across three major historical "assemblages": the medieval, the national, and the global. The book consists of three parts. The first, "Assembling the National," traces the emergence of territoriality in the Middle Ages and considers monarchical divinity as a precursor to sovereign secular authority. The second part, "Disassembling the National," analyzes economic, legal, technological, and political conditions and projects that are shaping new organizing logics. The third part, "Assemblages of a Global Digital Age," examines particular intersections of the new digital technologies with territory, authority, and rights. Sweeping in scope, rich in detail, and highly readable, Territory, Authority, Rights is a definitive new statement on globalization that will resonate throughout the social sciences.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012
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    ABSTRACT: This paper addresses a number of key challenges in current subjective well-being (SWB) research: A new wave of studies should take into account that different things may make different people happy, thus going beyond a unitary ‘happiness formula’. Furthermore, empirical results need to be connected to broader theoretical narratives. Using a re-examination of the social context of well-being as its case study, this article therefore resorts to sociological theory and fills a gap by investigating how social capital is correlated in different ways with the SWB of men, women, parents, and non-parents. Ordered logit and OLS regression analyses systematically examine slope heterogeneity using UK data from the European Social Survey. It turns out that civic engagement is not at all associated with higher life satisfaction for mothers, while the relationship is positive for men and strongest for childless women. Moreover, informal socialising is positively and more strongly associated with life satisfaction among women, although only when OLS is used. In sum, the social context of well-being varies considerably by gender and parental status. Mothers do not seem to benefit from formal social capital, indicating a “motherhood penalty” (see Correll et al., Am J Sociol 112(5):1297–1338 in 2007) regarding the psychological rewards usually associated with volunteering. Given the high levels of formal social capital among mothers, the findings also highlight the importance of the homo sociologicus concept. Consequently, SWB research can be successfully used to provide new insights into long-standing interdisciplinary theory debates such as the one on homo economicus versus homo sociologicus. KeywordsLife satisfaction–Social capital–Volunteering–Revealed preferences–Homo sociologicus–Homo economicus
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Social Indicators Research
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