Conventional Risk Discourse and the Proliferation of Fear

Robert Schehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The academic and service provider literatures addressing risk, especially youth risk, have produced an array of theoretical and conceptual interpretations consistent with the perpetuation of fear. It is the author’s contention that conventional risk discourse serves the ideological purpose of marginalizing undesirable groups, which leads to the creation and proliferation of technological and behavioral modes of social control. The author also contends that dominant cultural interests perpetuate a discourse of fear that neglects contemporary insight into structural causes of nonnormative violent behavior. Structural precursors to violence are combined with the complex and multifaceted matrix of subjective life-world experiences and institutional arrangements that together constitute the context responsible for generating family and youth trauma, and later, risky behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-58
Number of pages21
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • fear
  • risk
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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