Towards a sociology of risk work: a narrative review and synthesis

Nicola Gale, Gareth Thomas, Rachel Thwaites, Sheila Greenfield, Patrick Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)


In this article we define the concept of ‘risk work’, which aims to make visible working practices to assess or manage risk in order to subject these practices to sociological critique. This article reviews and synthesizes existing published literature in the field of health to identify components of risk work: 1) translating risk into different contexts; 2) minimizing risks in practice, and; 3) caring in the context of risk. We argue that these three components of risk work raise important tensions for workers that have been inadequately explored in the literature to date. We propose that future research should additionally focus on practitioner subjectivity and identity in risk work. In addition, we argue that comparative research – across type of risk and different contexts – and methodological and theoretical diversity would enhance this emerging field of research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1071
JournalSociology Compass
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2016


  • management
  • occupations
  • organizations
  • risk science and medicine
  • subjects
  • work


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