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Injuries, Fatalities and Social Relations
Editors: Roger Cooter and Bill Luckin
There is now an extensive literature on the social and environmental consequences of living in the risk society. Studies of trauma are also increasingly prominent. But scant attention has been paid to perceptions of risk and danger in the past — in particular, to the history of accidents and the meanings of the accidental. This collection of interdisciplinary essays addresses this lacuna providing a theoretically informed historical sociology of the accident and risk. It explores the social and cultural contexts in which ‘acts of God', calamities, catastrophes, disasters, injuries, casualties, and other category of ‘mishaps' were experienced, conceptualized and responded to.
Drawing on the skills of British, European and North American scholars, Accidents in History combines philosophical, sociological and ecological overviews with in-depth historical case-studies. It spans the period from the eighteenth century to the present, probing the epistemological, social and political roots of the accidental. The authors differentiate between industrial and other forms of injury; trace the origins of the normalization of accidents; and analyze the interactions and gendered discrepancies between domestic and non-domestic mishaps. They also investigate the medicalization of sudden injury, and discuss the emergence of new socio-medical and humanitarian discourses around the organization of relief for victims.