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Risk is a defining feature of late modernity. While it is acknowledged that risk has come to mean danger, the sociological literature suggests that risk is becoming abstracted from reality and presents it as lacking emotional content. This paper argues that the lived experiences of risk should no longer be overlooked. Using data collected in a qualitative interview study of women who have a family history of ovarian cancer, it demonstrates that women's understanding of risk is framed by their previous experiences of death and dying and perceived as connoting a future of suffering and loss for themselves and others. It is argued that managing risk in this context may be less an act of rational self-management than the response of an emotional and relational self. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.

Original publication




Journal article


Health, Risk and Society

Publication Date





9 - 26