Risk and danger are culturally conditioned ideas. They are shaped by pressures of social life and accepted notions of accountability. The risk analyses that are increasingly being utilised by politicians, aid programmes and business ignore the insights to be gained from social anthropology which can be applied to modern industrial society.In this collection of recent essays, Mary Douglas develops a programme for studying risk and blame that follows from ideas originally proposed in Purity and Danger. She suggests how political and cultural bias can be incorporated into the study of risk perception and in the discussion of responsibility in public policy.

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