There has been a growing sociological interest in both risk and its management, and with how we cope with the uncertainties of late 20th- century life. Understanding accidents is the key to understanding the risk society, for accidents are both the paradigmatic challenge for risk technologies to predict the apparently unpredictable and the ultimate indicator of the limits of those technologies.; The book traces the emergence of the "accident" as a marginal misfortune in modernist thought, and its transformation into a "preventable" misfortune in the late 20th century. It identifies accidents as being crucial to self- conscious, rational modernity in the early 20th century: accidents which "just happen" marked the limits of rational explanation and only the irrational denied their existence. However, as an examination of Contemporary Medical And Health Promotion Writing Shows, The Accident should no longer happen. The rise of risk assessment constructs the accident as an essentially preventable misfortune.; This book should be of interest to students and sociologists working in the areas of social theory, risk, health and illness, and knowledge. It should also be of interest to those concerned about cultural change in the late 20th century, and the implications of risk assessment technologies.