Digital risk society

Authored by: Deborah Lupton

Routledge Handbook of Risk Studies

Print publication date:  April  2016
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138022867
eBook ISBN: 9781315776835
Adobe ISBN: 9781317691662

10.4324/9781315776835.ch26

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Abstract

As social life and social institutions have become experienced and managed through novel forms of digital technologies, and as both public and personal spaces as well as human bodies have become increasingly monitored by digital surveillance devices and sensors, a new field of risk inquiry has opened up in response to what might be termed ‘digital risk society’. The intersections between risk and digital technologies operate in several ways. First, the phenomena and individuals that are identified as ‘risks’ or ‘risky’ are increasingly configured and reproduced through digital media, devices and software. These technologies act not only as mediators of risk but are frequently new sources of risk themselves. Second, various uses of digital technologies are often presented as posing risks to users. In a third major dimension, members of some social groups are positioned in the literature on the ‘digital divide’ as at particular risk of disadvantage in relation to communication, education, information or better employment opportunities because they lack access to or interest or skills in using online technologies.

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