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Risk and face: a review of the six studies.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2003
<mark>Journal</mark>Health, Risk and Society
Issue number2
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)216-220
<mark>Original language</mark>English


My commentary draws on the six studies contained in this special issue to argue that talk about risk poses special problems for interaction, and that the participants in this talk have devices for dealing with these problems. I draw on Erving Goffman's concept of 'face' and show how the discussion of risk issues can threaten the face of doctors and patients, counsellors and clients, or writers and readers of diary accounts and newsgroup postings. The participants are not just presenting an evaluation of probabilities and dangers, they are representing and defending versions of themselves. Another of Goffman's concepts, 'frames', can help us see how each of these discussions can be seen in terms of several different ways of talking, not just calculation of risks and decision-making. The implication is that professionals engaging in risk talk cannot just convey relevant information, but must consider how the participants present themselves, and what different frames might emerge in the course of interaction.