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Danish Centre for Rural Research - CLF

Uncertain times? Sociology conference focused on the uncertainties that arise in times of crisis

Recent years have been characterized by uncertainty, such as the pandemic, climate change, and the green transition. At a conference, international researchers discussed issues and proposed solutions.

Covid-19 pandemic. Climate and energy crisis. War. We live in a time of never-ending crises that have major consequences for European citizens, their everyday lives, and their future.

Sociological approaches to risk have long argued that late modern societies are characterized by the emergence of new hazards and risks that we try to control in new ways. The impact of these new risks on our everyday lives becomes evident in the context of crises, such as pandemic policies, floods, and rising energy prices.

Therefore, Danish, and international researchers met at a conference at the University of Southern Denmark in Esbjerg to discuss sociological perspectives on risk and uncertainty with a special focus on rural areas.

Research from around the world

In recent years, rural areas have been characterized by uncertainty on several levels. In rural areas, climate change is particularly noticeable, while the energy transition is also affecting local areas, for example with the installation of wind farms and solar parks.

Other risks in peripheral areas are related to a stronger rural-urban polarization, which has led to rural populations often being older, less educated, less wealthy, and more likely to experience chronic disease. In addition, rural populations are more likely to have difficulties accessing health, social, and care services due to centralized infrastructure and longer distances.

- At the conference, we used sociological and interdisciplinary perspectives to explore risks and uncertainties across a range of areas, focusing on themes such as confidentiality and trust, health and well-being, risk management and security, resilience, and climate change.

- We had a special focus on the challenges of peripheral areas, and we gathered several exciting presentations on current research from around the world concerning this, says Associate Professor Barbara Fersch, who is both head of the local organizing group and chair of the Danish Sociology Association.

The conference was organized as a collaboration between the "Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty" groups in both the International and the European Sociology Association and the Danish Sociology Association.

Group photo
Editing was completed: 14.11.2023