Edgework: A Social Psychological Analysis of Voluntary Risk Taking

  title={Edgework: A Social Psychological Analysis of Voluntary Risk Taking},
  author={Stephen Lyng},
  journal={American Journal of Sociology},
  pages={851 - 886}
  • S. Lyng
  • Published 1 January 1990
  • Psychology
  • American Journal of Sociology
Voluntary risk taking is an activity that attracts a sizable number of people in American society but has been largely ignored by sociologists. A literature review is presented that points to a number of shortcomings in existing studies, most of which are associated with the psychological reductionism that predominates in this area of study. An effort is made to provide a sociological account of voluntary risk taking by (1) introducing a new classifyin concept- edgework-based on numerous themes… 
The social construction of risk by young people
The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of a widely accepted risk discourse. This discussion presents a range of data which aims to highlight weaknesses in the widespread
Action and edgework
Although the meaning and usefulness of Erving Goffman’s work are still being debated today, few would doubt the importance of his contributions to the sociological study of the self, emotions,
Risk and emotion: towards an alternative theoretical perspective
While it is generally accepted in writings on the sociocultural aspects of risk that risk and emotion are interrelated, this relationship remains under-theorised. The literature on the affect
Performing risks: catharsis, carnival and capital in the risk society
This article examines different forms of voluntary risk-taking behaviour amongst young people living and learning in a risk society. It draws on research conducted with a Scottish dance-education
Seachange : risk for a better life
Risk is a buzz word for the social sciences. In recent years, several theories and studies have explored contemporary understanding of the concept and it’s implications for social action. This paper
‘Go for it!’ Towards a critical realist approach to voluntary risk-taking
Abstract This paper examines a type of voluntary risk-taking, orientation to risk and risk rhetoric, which we call ‘go(ing) for it.’ Although occasionally acknowledged in the field of clinical risk
'Life would be pretty dull without risk': Voluntary risk-taking and its pleasures
Most writing in the social sciences on risk-taking tends to represent it as the product of ignorance or irrationality. The modern subject tends to be portrayed in this writing as risk-aversive and
Reappraising the Risk Society Thesis
In the last decade of the 20th century, Ulrich Beck's groundbreaking Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity created a ripple effect within academia, generating an upsurge of interest in the concept of
Towards a Sociological Understanding of Youth and their Risk-taking
This paper critically examines recent explanations of youth and their risk-taking. Literature in this area has traditionally been dominated by psycho-dynamic explanations of social action in which
Voluntary risk Seeking in the Risk Society: Explaining Involvement in Edgework
markdownabstract__Abstract__ How does voluntary participation in dangerous leisure activities requiring skills (‘edgework’) compare, for example, to gambling and thrill seeking and why does


Social Structure, Psychology, and the Estimation of Risk
This paper introduces sociologists to intriguing findings by psychologists about the heuristics that people use in thinking about risk, the resulting biases in estimates, the preferences people
Social Theory, Social Research, and a Theory of Action
  • J. Coleman
  • Psychology
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1986
After an extraordinarily promising beginning in 1937 with The Structure of Social Action, Talcott Parsons abandoned his attempt to ground social theory in a theory of purposive action. The
The psychosocial consequences of natural and alienated labor
statistically naive reader in understanding the research findings. One section even describes the pitfalls of overconfidence in certain statistical techniques. The remainder of the chapter not only
Efficacious Action and Social Approval as Interacting Dimensions of Self-Esteem: A Tentative Formulation Through Construct Validation.
The importance of self-esteem to theoretical, evaluative and policy oriented research is stressed, which puts a premium on an adequate conceptualization and operationalization of self-esteem. A
The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration
Anthony Giddens has been in the forefront of developments in social theory for the past decade. In "The Constitution of Society" he outlines the distinctive position he has evolved during that period
George Herbert Mead and the “Division Of Labor”: Macrosociological Implications Of Mead'S Social Psychology*
By presenting some results of an extensive reconstruction of George Herbert Mead's work published as yet only in German it is argued that Mead's work as a whole and particularly his social psychology
George Herbert Mead and Karl Marx: Exploring Consciousness and Community*
Current discussions within symbolic interaction point to a concern with (a) returning to Mead’s original insights, (b) extending Meadian thought beyond the micro realm, and (c) linking Mead’s ideas
The Real Self: From Institution to Impulse
  • R. Turner
  • Psychology
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1976
It is proposed that people variously recognize their real selves either in feelings and actions of an institutional and volitional nature, such as ambition, morality, and altruism, or in the
Leisure and Socialization
The conceptual dichotomy between instrumental and expressive activities confines leisure to the expressive sphere and makes it dependent on more essential instrumental institutions. Ontogenetically,
False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness
This classic study of the American working class, originally published in 1973, is now back in print with a new introduction and epilogue by the author. An innovative blend of first-person experience