What changes in media risk frames reveal about changing attitudes toward modern life: the case of the Greek Press, 1977-2004
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Some social scientists note that Westerners have become disenchanted with their society, which they see as promoting industrial development and a soul less consumerism that are out of control and destroying the natural environment. The same social scientists also note that ambivalent attitudes towards institutions and people accompany the disenchantment and weaken bonds of trust among people. The result is an acute anxiety about uncertainty, which predisposes people to view human activity and the future through the prism of vulnerability and risk. These sociologists see this predisposition as constituting a new global paradigm of understanding society and social experience, which they sum up with phrases like "world risk society" (Beck) and the "culture of fear" (Furedi). According to these sociologists, concern about risk - negative consequences of human activity - now colors perceptions of social issues, individual behavior, and expectations of humanity's future. This study examined what the sociologists mean by risk and risk awareness, and tested their claim that a risk paradigm has emerged and consolidated over the past three decades, by seeing if such a trend was apparent in the Greek press. Content analysis of news and editorials in two Greek newspapers over a thirty-year period found no evidence of a shift toward risk as a dominant frame of social experience.