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Dec2 - SOCIOLOGY101 Sociology of Technology On Risk and...

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SOCIOLOGY 101    Introduction to Sociology
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Sociology of Technology: On Risk and Disaster
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Individualism and society Problem of responsibility Problem of power Individualism and social context Enter large-scale and advanced technologies…
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Specific topics Risk perception: what people worry about and why Panic: idea that people are suddenly overwhelmed with emotion that makes them crazy Usual view: collective effects of individual over- reaction
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Some risk facts More die from appendicitis than floods (in most years) Mountain climbing about as risky as glider flying, pro-football Common worry if something increases chance of dying by 1/1,000,000
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More risk facts Increase risk of dying by 1/1,000,000 ½ liter wine Flying 6k miles by jet 40 tablespoons of peanut butter 1 chest x-ray at a good hospital Going 10 miles by bicycle
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Objectivity & perception Do objects have an essence? If so, what you think follows from what you see. Seeing is believing???
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There are only white circles at the intersections.
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Rows of black & white squares are parallel
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What do you see?
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    Worry wart dude
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Eye Mouth& Chin Older woman looking down
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Eye lash Younger woman looking back Ear
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Conditioned knowledge What we “know” is conditioned… Knowledge & thought are shaped by social contexts. Knowledge and perception are socially rooted. Remember: common sense can be deceptive or not as common as assumed
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Risk perceptions Overestimated Lightning Homicide Firearm accidents Cancer Underestimated Diabetes Digestive organ cancer Polio
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Availability heuristic Jaws, Three Mile Island, airline crashes Experience shapes perceptions & knowledge But…what experience do we have with these things?
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