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Environmental Sociology and the Legal Calculation of Uncertainty and Precaution

Goodie, J. (2011) Environmental Sociology and the Legal Calculation of Uncertainty and Precaution. In: The Annual Conference of The Australian Sociological Association - Local Lives/Global Networks, 28 November - 1 December 2011, The University of Newcastle pp. 1-14.

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In the face of perceived environmental threats, especially from climate change, environmental sociology has become increasingly focused on uncertainty and precaution. Various contributors to the sociological literature (for example, Furedi, Ewald, and Shaw) offer useful insights into the way uncertainty and precaution are being formulated in regard to environmental risk, particularly the risk of climate change. Their insights can be complemented by a different set of insights, into the nitty-gritty of the complex legal mechanisms being forged in common-law countries to guide institutional and individual actors as to how the law calculates risk, particularly by formulating a technical legal device, ‘the precautionary principle’. This paper, in addressing a small element of this lacuna in the impressive sociological literature about environmental risks, focuses on legal deliberations of the risks of climate change in one region of Australia, the Gippsland coast in Victoria.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Publisher: The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)
Copyright: The Author
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