Community Care and the Location and Governance of Risk in Mental Health


  • Joanne Warner University of Kent



percepción del riesgo, energía del hidrógeno, tecnología emergente, compromiso público, actitudes públicas, confianza, incertidumbre


The concept of risk is now central to all areas of health and social welfare in the UK, although its exact character in relation to different groups varies. It has been argued that risk in mental health has been characterised by a preoccupation with the perceived risk of violence to others posed by those experiencing mental distress, particularly since the implementation of community care policies in the 1990s. The present paper draws on qualitative materials from semi-structured interviews with thirty-nine mental health social workers to demonstrate the significance for policy and practice of identifying where professionals see risk as being located. In the present study, three key sites were identified: firstly, risk was located in dangerous individuals, where the concept "high-risk" was particularly closely identified with young Black men with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Secondly, social workers located risk in within-subject entities such as active psychotic illness, when it was the symptom rather than the whole individual that was subject to surveillance and control. Thirdly, social workers located risk in social context and regarded risk in multidimensional ways compared to their psychiatric colleagues. The paper highlights how a theory of risk location can be a useful conceptual tool. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0601310


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Author Biography

Joanne Warner, University of Kent

Joanne WARNER is Senior Lecturer in Social Work. Her main research interests are: sociocultural approaches to risk and mental health and documentary analysis.




How to Cite

Warner, J. (2006). Community Care and the Location and Governance of Risk in Mental Health. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(1).



Risk-communication, Media, Discourse