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Unintended consequences and risk(y) thinking: The shaping of consequences and responsibilities in relation to environmental disasters
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Environmental Sociology Section)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6735-0011
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Environmental Sociology Section)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6522-6025
2018 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 10, no 8, article id 2906Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Unintended consequences have long been central for the social sciences. But, the development of risk analysis and the adoption of risk language have substantial implications for how to understand and evaluate unintended consequences. Claims can now be raised that unintended consequences should have been foreseen and other options chosen. This situation constitutes the starting point for this paper, which develops an understanding of unintended consequences, in particular, in relation to environmental disasters. It draws on Robert Merton's classic work on unanticipated consequences, but refines and further develops it by fertilizing it with findings from risk sociology and framing theory. A particular case of a human-caused disaster, a severewildfire, is analyzed to illustrate and expand the understanding of unintended consequences. The empirical material consists of a postal survey to everyone directly affected by the wildfire (N = 960 individuals). The empirical results of this analysis are then explained and used to improve the understanding of unintended consequences, by showing how the context and framing of the disaster heavily affected the evaluation of its consequences, including unintended ones.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI AG , 2018. Vol. 10, no 8, article id 2906
Keywords [en]
Environmental disaster, Forest fires, Responsibilization, Risk, Unintended consequences
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69679DOI: 10.3390/su10082906ISI: 000446767700322Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85051749041OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-69679DiVA, id: diva2:1257090
Projects
Risk governance, legitimacy and social learning in the handling of the forest fire in Västmanland
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 211-2014-1875Available from: 2018-10-18 Created: 2018-10-18 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved

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Unintended Consequences and Risk(y) Thinking: The Shaping of Consequences and Responsibilities in Relation to Environmental Disasters(628 kB)119 downloads
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Lidskog, RolfSjödin, Daniel

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