Social theorizing about risk has produced important implications for both analytic strategy and resistance. The ontology of risk, however, has either been taken for granted or dismissed altogether. We consider what a realist philosophy of risk might look like given the desire to analyze risks as more than discursive constructs yet avoiding the pitfalls of empiricism. We argue that a necessary first step is to treat as ontologically real both the objects and subjects of risk power. While a realist philosophy of risk does not necessarily produce critical praxis, within the context of class struggle it does allow for this possibility by providing the tools necessary for recognizing risk's historical situatedness and the political role of science in resisting risk ideologies.

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Critical Sociology
Department of Law and Legal Studies

Rigakos, G, & Law, A. (Alexandra). (2009). Risk, realism and the politics of resistance. Critical Sociology, 35(1), 79–103. doi:10.1177/0896920508098658