Introduction: Learning about Risk


  • Jens O. Zinn University of Melbourne
  • Peter Taylor-Gooby University of Kent at Canterbury



risk, uncertainty, research, theory, method, interdisciplinarity


The special issue "Learning about Risk" draws on the launch conference of the ESRC "Social Contexts and Responses to Risk" network (SCARR) held at 28th – 29th January 2005 in Canterbury. The SCARR network is an interdisciplinary network on risk which examines perceptions of and responses to risk in a range of areas, including sexual behaviour and partnering choices, the mass media, faith and ethnicity, pensions and financial planning, industrial pollution, crime, transport, energy policy and environmental hazards. The network's launch conference reflected the interdisciplinary character of risk research including a range of different methods and approaches to risk, directed at diverse objects of interest. The idea of the special issue is to link together this diversity and interdisciplinarity in risk research, and to encourage perspectives that look beyond the boundaries of single disciplines and methodological approaches. The papers in this publication demonstrate the value of insights from different disciplinary backgrounds in this area and point to the opportunities and challenges in the work that remains to be done in drawing these several perspectives more closely together. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0601246


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Author Biographies

Jens O. Zinn, University of Melbourne

Jens O. ZINN, Dr. phil., Dipl.-Soz., is Network Fellow of the ESRC "Social Contexts and Responses to Risk" network. He is co-ordinator of the research network "Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty" ( of the European Sociological Association (ESA). Special interests are on risk theorising, social change, biographical/life course risks and research methodology, recent publication on risk: TAYLOR-GOOBY, P. and ZINN, J. O. (Eds.): Risk in social sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Peter Taylor-Gooby, University of Kent at Canterbury

Peter TAYLOR-GOOBY is Professor of Social Policy at the University of Kent and Director of the ESRC Social Contexts and Responses to Risk network. He is a founding academician at ALSiSS, a Fellow of the RSA and current President of the Sociology and Social Policy section of the BAAS. Publications include: Risk in Social Science, (co-edited with Dr Jens O. ZINN) Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2006; Ideas and the Welfare State, Palgrave, 2005; New Risks, New Welfare, Oxford University Press, 2004; Making a European Welfare State?, Blackwell, 2004; and Risk, Trust and Welfare, Macmillan, 2000.




How to Cite

Zinn, J. O., & Taylor-Gooby, P. (2006). Introduction: Learning about Risk. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(1).