Research Output

How children and their families construct and negotiate risk, safety and danger.

  This article presents an analysis of the family context and everyday negotiations around risk, safety and danger between children and parents in four families drawn from a larger qualitative study. The challenges of analysing accounts from several family members are highlighted. Case study families are described; and fragments of their interwoven individual and shared biographies, on which respondents regularly drew to legitimate risk-related beliefs and practices, are outlined. The dynamic, fluid and contingent nature of risk construction and reconstruction in everyday family life is discussed and three main themes explored: establishing ‘the bottom line’; assumptions, collusions and contradictions around age, siblinghood and time; and contextualizing risk in the conduct of others. The authors conclude that, just as with childhood itself, it is important also to contextualize ‘risk’ within socioeconomic, cultural and institutional frameworks; and that, for most children, their families both constitute one such context and mediate wider social structures.

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  • Date:

    01 November 2004

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  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    306 Culture & institutions


Backett-Milburn, K. & Harden, J. (2004). How children and their families construct and negotiate risk, safety and danger. Childhood. 11, 429-447. doi:10.1177/0907568204047105. ISSN 0907-5682


Children; Families; Risk; Danger; Safety; Negotiation;

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