The Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty research network stimulates sociological and interdisciplinary research and debate around how risk and uncertainty are perceived, constructed, managed, communicated and/or neglected by social actors at individual, organizational and macro levels.
The SoRU initiative was developed in 2005 as part of the interdisciplinary work in the ESRC ‘Social Contexts and Responses to Risk’ priority network (SCARR, 2003-2008) led by Prof. Peter Taylor-Gooby. In 2004 Jens Zinn prepared with the support of a number of enthusiastic colleagues two proposals for founding research networks on the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty, one to the European Sociological Association (ESA) and one to the International Sociological Association (ISA). In 2005 the Research Network 22 within ESA and in 2006 the Thematic Group 04 within ISA had been confirmed and started to work. A central website was established, research streams within the major conferences of ESA and ISA were organised and started to attract usually more than 100 abstracts.
In 2009 another SoRU group ‘Risk Societies’ has been established within the Australian Sociological Association (TASA) by Jens Zinn and Alphia Possamai-Inesedy.
That same year Patrick Brown took over the lead of RN22 and a group of experts from Mid Sweden University – Anna Olofsson, Susanna Öhman and Jörgen Sparf – became more active. Jörgen developed a new enhanced website and the group organised a first Mid-Term Conference for RN22 in 2011 at Mid Sweden University, campus Östersund.
The success and development of the SoRU initiative and the regional networks very much depend on the voluntary contributions of scholars all over the world. We welcome anyone who would like to contribute and help to develop this initiative further.