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Risk-taking and social inequality

 Author: Zinn, J. O.  Category:  Publisher: Journal of Sociology  Year:: 2023


Even though risk-taking is a common and widespread social experience sociological theorizing on the concept is scarce. This contribution aims to systematize and advance understanding of risk-taking and its different forms and how these connect to social inequalities and the social machinery. It considers risk-taking in the context of the debate about Bourdieu’s theory of practice and Archer’s theory of morphogenesis before suggesting a conceptual framework that outlines different rationales, dimensions, and the role of agency for understanding risk-taking as an individual and as a collective activity. The concept highlights the ambivalent character of risk-taking as an expression and mode of reproducing inequalities and a crucial resource to overcome disadvantage and foster social change.