The coexistence of riskophobia and riskophilia – an expression of “normal anomie”

The coexistence of riskophobia and riskophilia – an expression of “normal anomie”

Kravchenko S.A.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof., Head of the Department of Sociology, MGIMO-University; Chief Researcher, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

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Kravchenko S.A. The coexistence of riskophobia and riskophilia – an expression of “normal anomie”. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 2. P. 3-13


The article analyses development of different risks leading to the formation of riskophobia and riskophilia which are normalized in society today. They are considered “normal anomie” understood as an expanding set of vulnerabilities for society in form of side effects of innovation, rational and pragmatic human activity. It is shown that not only riskophobia and riskophilia are based on the chosen pragmatic and mercantile vector of human activity, but they are also determined by the nature of knowledge dynamics about the risks which is a part of public consciousness determining nature of human activity. Riskophobia allows to avoid socially destructive risks formats, negative risk perception via producing fears of dangers around human body and health problems. Riskophilia is stimulated by relevant knowledge, according to which risk-taking is acceptable and even desirable for innovative activities, exploring the unknown. Voluntary risk-taking may stimulate upward social mobility, career success, help to overcome fears, depressions, complexes. However, dysfunctional socially destructive practices representing the counterculture develop as well. Dominant risks are changing with the becoming of “world at risk” (U. Beck). They acquire the character of a staged global reality. Accordingly both riskophobia and riskophilia become largely staged, and their dispersion meanings encourage people to both avoidance and risk-taking.

risk; riskophobia; riskophilia; “normal anomie”; staging of reality; risk funnel


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