This chapter explores the history of the idea of risk and different ways of theorising this concept. It argues that the theory that ‘risks’ are socially constructed (an approach developed by the anthropologist Mary Douglas) can help modern scholars to understand the role played by oracles and curses in ancient Greek culture. The social construction of risks holds that different communities will select some dangers from others for particular attention as ‘risks’. These selections are connected to a community's worldview and its values and beliefs; in particular, conceptions of blame, accountability and responsibility.
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