The Sociology of Risk-Taking
Edited by Stephen Lyng
Routledge – 2005 – 312 pages
What do skydiving, rock climbing, and downhill skiing have in common with stock-trading, unprotected sex, and sadomasochism? All are high risk pursuits. Edgework explores the world of voluntary risk-taking, investigating the seductive nature of pursuing peril and teasing out the boundaries between legal and criminal behavior; conscious and unconscious acts; sanity and insanity; acceptable risk and stupidity. The distinguished contributors to this collection profile high risk-takers and explore their experiences with risk through such topics as juvenile delinquency, street anarchism, sadomasochism, avant-garde art, business risks, and extreme sport.
"At last, a book that has taken the concept of edgework and developed it both theoretically and with reference to many and new areas of voluntary risk-taking. Every essay is fascinating and the collection as a whole is a sustained and focused sociological exploration of life on the edge. Not only a delight to read, but a genuine contribution to the discipline. This book will have a significant impact in many areas, from cultural studies and criminology to the sociology of emotions and the study of the 'risk society'." -- Pat O'Malley, Carleton University, author of Risk, Uncertainty and Government
"At a time when governments seek more than ever before to regulate and restrict everyday social behavior, a book such as this one that concerns itself with the transgressing of boundaries and life on the edge will prove invaluable to both academics and students alike. This exciting collection is therefore timely and will serve to put the concept of edgework in front of a new generation of students in sociology, criminology, and cultural studies." -- Mike Presdee, University of Kent, author of Cultural Criminology and the Carnival of Crime and editor of Cultural Criminology Unleashed
"Stephen Lyng's concept of edgework illuminates a wide range of social situations: it is sociology at the edge, the place where norms are negotiated and boundaries contested. It is a key concept in the sociology of risk and in the emerging cultural criminology. Lyng and his colleagues extend this analysis to the sociology of adventure, from drug use to the study of terrorism. This book is packed full of inspiration, and is an exhilarating read." -- Jock Young, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of The Exclusive Society
Stephen Lyng is Professor of Sociology at Carthage College, and author (with David D. Franks) of Sociology and the Real World.