© 2020

The UK ‘at Risk’

A Corpus Approach to Historical Social Change 1785–2009


Part of the Critical Studies in Risk and Uncertainty book series (CRSTRU)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Jens O. Zinn
    Pages 1-17
  3. Jens O. Zinn
    Pages 73-111
  4. Jens O. Zinn
    Pages 187-194
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 229-278

About this book


This book presents a case study of the proliferation of at risk-language in The Times news coverage from 1785 to 2009, illuminating the changing social experience of risk.

Zinn presents an historical examination of the forces which have shaped the language of risk over time, and considers how linguistic developments in recent decades are underpinned by issues such as cultural and structural transformations, the management of infectious and chronic diseases and climate change. He also explores changes in the public sphere, including the production of the news.  

Based on an interdisciplinary research project which combines linguistic research tools with sociological analysis of the social contexts, the book contributes to a better understanding of how 'at risk' has become a defining feature of the UK in recent decades, and one which permeates all kinds of social domains. This research will be a point of reference for students and scholars engaging with risk studies from various disciplines including sociology, media studies, history and socio-linguistics.  


Uncertainty Risk society The Times At risk Risk semantics Media

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social & Political SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

About the authors

Jens O. Zinn is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Melbourne, Australia and Guest Professor at the Risk and Crisis Research Centre at Mid Sweden University, Sweden.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The UK ‘at Risk’
  • Book Subtitle A Corpus Approach to Historical Social Change 1785–2009
  • Authors Jens O. Zinn
  • Series Title Critical Studies in Risk and Uncertainty
  • Series Abbreviated Title Critical Studies in Risk and Uncertainty
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-20237-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-20240-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-20238-5
  • Series ISSN 2523-7268
  • Series E-ISSN 2523-7276
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 278
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 10 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Historical Sociology
    Media Sociology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Two worthy aspects of this book are its methodological strength and its theoretical contributions. ... the book will serve as an important stepping stone for the further fusion of corpus linguistics and sociology. It would be methodologically and theoretically useful for the researchers in various disciplines, such as sociology, media studies, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics.” (Fan Pan and Rulan Hu, Discourse & Society, Vol. 32 (2), 2020)