Beyond risk theory: Experiential knowledge and ‘knowing otherwise’

Sandra Walklate, Gabe Mythen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The central purpose of this article is to trace the conflicting co-existence of three narratives in relation to the ‘risk society’ and the practices that it engenders. The first of these narratives is theoretical: the problems and possibilities of the risk society thesis. The second is practical: how the concept of risk has been translated into policy and practice in the form of risk assessment tools for both ‘at risk’ offenders and ‘at risk’ victims. The focus in this narrative will be on criminal justice responses to violence in general with particular emphasis on responses to partner violence. The third narrative focuses on ‘real lives’: the experiential. Here attention will be paid to what is it that is, or is not, captured by the first two narratives. The concern will be to illustrate the extent to which the discordance that can be found between these three narratives reveals much about the risks of politics and the politics of risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalCriminology & Criminal Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • partner violence
  • real lives
  • risk
  • risk assessment

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