Disputing security and risk: The convoluted politics of uncertainty

Helena Farrand Carrapico, Narzanin Massoumi, William McGowan, Gabe Mythen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores some of the dilemmas that arise in using uncertainty as a lens to interpret societal problems and issues. Using several cases to open up discussion we argue that it is vitally important to understand the historical, political and cultural context in which debates about risk, uncertainty and (in)security materialise. Arguing for a re-specified, context-specific account, we seek to unravel dominant understandings of uncertainty in three domains: cyber security, counter-radicalisation strategy and mechanisms for coping in the aftermath of structural violence. While acknowledging the value of uncertainty as an heuristic device, we argue that established units of sociological analysis – such as power and ideology – remain important explanatory concepts in understanding institutional actions and policy drivers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Uncertainty
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges of Transformation
EditorsIan Scoones, Andy Stirling
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003023845
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


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