6.5 The social construction of quantifiable risk

Earlier in this unit we referred to the way in which social groups can develop shared cognitive schema. One important role for shared cognitive schema is to define the risks that we pay attention to, the dread in which we hold them and the perceived likelihood of their occurrence. Because these perceptions affect behaviour, they also play a role in selecting the risks that we face. In the last half century, some sociologists suggest (e.g. Beck, 1992; Giddens, 1990) that our concerns with risk
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5.5 Social pressures which affect our decision making

Broadly, there are three kinds of social pressure which affect how we make decisions:

  • coercive

  • mimetic

  • normative.

We look at these in more detail below.


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4.5 Deciding: problems of judgement

We are constantly bombarded by information. Simply walking though a room risks flooding us with more sensory information that we can possibly process. Stop for a moment and consider all the different things you can see, hear, smell, or feel.


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3.3 Limitations of the rational-economic perspective

As an approach to understanding economic life, the assumption of formal rationality has been very successful. For example, there is great deal of evidence that, on average, prices in financial markets behave as if investors were formally rational. However, there is also a great deal of evidence that individuals do not behave in this way (e.g. de Bondt, 1998). Even within the field of financial economics, there is increasing interest in developing theories of market behaviour which take better
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6.1 Introduction

Buchanan and Badham (1999) suggest that political behaviour can be usefully evaluated against four criteria to help determine whether it is acceptable or whether it is not:

Four criteria to determine whether political behaviour is acceptable

  1. Is the behaviour e
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References

Frame, J.D. (1987) Managing Projects in Organizations: How to Make the Best Use of Time, Techniques and People, San Francisco, Jossey Bass.
Buzan, T. (1982) Use Your Head, London, Ariel Books.

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6 The stakeholders and their interests

Anyone in the organisation, or outside it, who has or might have a legitimate interest in the project and its outputs or outcomes, is a stakeholder. You need to identify these people and groups so that you can make sure you meet their expectations and manage the influence they may wish to exert over the progress of the project. Particularly important among the stakeholders will be:

  • the project sponsor – the person or group who set up the project, au
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Introduction

Many managers find that they are required to manage projects. In this unit we aim to help you to take an overview of the features of a project and the issues that arise in managing a project. Once you have identified a piece of work as a project, you are able to use a number of management approaches that have proven effective in managing projects. A project is a one-off, non-repeated activity or set of tasks that achieves clearly stated objectives within a time limit. Most projects are goal-o
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1.7.2 Summary

  • The EU is an economic, juridical and, to a certain extent, a political reality but a single European public space has not emerged yet.

  • The establishment of European citizenship could play a crucial part in fostering a common European public space.

  • European citizenship could encourage Europeans to play a more active role in EU affairs and participate in governance processes.


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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you will:

  • recognise that ‘European identity’ is a socially constructed attribute;

  • appreciate the basis for the unities as well as the divisions amongst Europeans;

  • understand the ways European identities are assessed and measured;

  • appreciate the key role of ‘culture’ in the organisation of a common European identity;

  • see that European identity could be a bottom-up process as well as a top
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8.8 Finding information in society

This unit will help you to identify and use information in society, whether for your work, study or personal purposes. Experiment with some of the key resources in this subject area, and learn about the skills which will enable you to plan searches for information, so you can find what you are looking for more easily. Discover the meaning of information quality, and learn how to evaluate the information you come across. You will also be introduced to the many different ways of organising your
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5.2 The origins of the wars of the three kingdoms

From Catholic rebellion to Civil War, what happened during the latter years of the reign of Charles I that caused people to take up arms against their fellow citizens? This unit looks at the background of the wars between England, Scotland and Ireland and how the King's actions led to the rift between royalists and parliamentarians.

To access this material click on the unit link below. It leads to a separate OpenLearn unit and will open in a new window.


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3.5 The incredible shrinking chip

This unit focuses on the creation of a semiconductor transistor – a versatile tiny transistor that is now at the heart of the electronics industry. In video clips the history of the incredible shrinking chip, its Scottish connections and an explanation of the physics that make chips work are accompanied by a reconstruction of the making of a transistor using the crude techniques of yesteryear.

In this unit we follow two Scottish computer engineers with little or no physics knowledge a
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1.1.1 Culture and society in Scotland

Scotland has a rich and distinctive cultural heritage based on many aspects including language, history, music and literature. For a small country whose population has never been much in excess of five million, Scotland can be justifiably proud of its past achievements. However there have been significant changes in Scotland over the last decade, principally arising from devolution in 1999. This section of OpenLearn Scotland introduces learners to a wide range of topics reflecting both Scotla
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2.1 The development of gender identity

In this section we are going to look at where we come from in terms of childhood experience and the development of gender identities in childhood. Gender identity involves the construction and use of gender categories. Children's gender categories are at first rather simplistic; but, as we shall see, children refine their categories so that they become more reliable and useful for their social lives. Studying the development of gender identity in children reveals that this is a story of a sea
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5 Further reading

For further discussion and explanations of events in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, G. Squires and C. Hartman's (eds) There is No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster (2006, Routledge) brings together a series of social sciences essays and commentaries around different dimensions of the disaster. There are many books and studies detailing the evolution of council estates in Britain and focusing on the many problems facing some of the residents who live in them. Tony Par
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3.1 Photographic content and context

Can we analyse photographs to tell us something valid about gender, ethnicity, class and nationality? As the wedding pictures example begins to suggest, there are traces of social facts embedded in the images, as well as evidence of the social conventions and organisational practices that underpin their production and diffusion or circulation. What will be clear is that there is no simple interpretational tool or reading skill available to us that allows us to reduce the picture to a simple f
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1.6.1 Introduction

The process of keeping up-to-date in your chosen subject area is useful for your studies and afterwards, for your own personal satisfaction, or perhaps in your career as part of your continuing professional development.

There are a great many tools available that make it quite easy to keep yourself up to date. You can set them up so that the information comes to you, rather than you having to go out on the web looking for it. Over the next few pages, you will be experimenting with some
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3.2 By medium

We can divide texts up by the medium in which they appear. This is a broad division that is technologically based. It may seem excessively obvious, but it can be quite revealing. For example, different media have different periodicities (frequency of appearances) – most magazines appear weekly or monthly, while newspapers are weekly or daily. Episodes of television programmes are most commonly also weekly or daily, but films appear on a different basis altogether, since, like books or CDs t
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

This extract is taken from D218: Social policy: welfare, power and diversity, produced by the BBC on behalf of the Open University.

© 2007 The Open University.


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