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Price: $29.95

Paperback 232 pp.
6" x 9"



Publication date:
October 2015

Imprint: OUP Canada

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Waiting to Happen

The Sociology of Unexpected Injuries

Lorne Tepperman and Nicole Meredith

Public health researchers, insurance companies, and statisticians have long understood the curious patterns underlying unexpected injuries. Sociologists have more recently been drawn to this field of study, using
data from a range of sources to explore the social causes and consequences of "accidents" - or, more accurately, unexpected injuries.

While we, as a society, have developed multiple strategies for depicting such events as unavoidable, inevitable, acceptable, and even "normal," research on health, safety, and injury prevention tells a very different story. Indeed, this research reveals that there are surprising patterns that structure seemingly random events. Understanding these patterns allows us to help prevent unexpected injuries.

In this eye-opening new book, Lorne Tepperman and Nicole Meredith offer a sociological view of the most recent research available, complemented by insight gained from Meredith's first-hand experience with unexpected injuries and rehabilitation over seven years of intensive training at Canada's National Ballet School. In their analysis, Tepperman and Meredith consider the circumstances of unexpected injuries, the types of people who most commonly fall victim to these sorts of injuries, and the associated human and social costs. They also evaluate the most common contexts for accidents, and they engage with a debate surrounding "accident proneness."

Students and scholars of sociology - as well as victims of unexpected injuries of any kind - will be fascinated by this evaluation of a significant social problem that remains poorly understood, despite its far-reaching consequences.

Readership : Students and scholars of sociology will be fascinated by the insights sociology can bring to the major public health issue of unexpected injuries.

Introduction: Death by Horse-Kicks
1. The Social and Economic Costs of Injury
2. The Patterning of Home Injuries
3. The Patterning of Leisure Injuries
4. The Patterning of Traffic Injuries
5. The Patterning of Workplace Injuries
6. The Debate about Accident Proneness
7. Social Factors that Reduce Risks of Injury
8. Prevention and Harm Reduction

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

LORNE TEPPERMAN is a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto and the author of many books on sociological thought.

NICOLE MEREDITH, MA, is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Canada's National Ballet School in 2009, with a piqued interest and personal investment in injury prevention.

Social Determinants of Health - Alan Davidson
Pursuing Health and Wellness - Alexander Segall and Christopher Fries
Health, Illness, and Medicine in Canada - Juanne Nancarrow Clarke

Special Features

  • Considers a question that has fascinated researchers for decades: is there such a thing as an "accident prone" personality?
  • Summarizes the human, social, and financial costs of accidents.
  • Challenges accepted wisdom about the nature of unexpected injuries, including our failure to accurately evaluate risk and our tendency to label certain events as "unavoidable."
  • Draws attention to the alarming connection between socioeconomic status and unexpected injuries.
  • Presents fascinating data, including the top three causes of unexpected injuries across the world, and the organization of these injuries along age, gender, racial, and class lines. In what settings and among what types of people do these injuries most commonly take place?
  • Reviews the successes and pitfalls of research on injury prevention: what preventive strategies work, and which do not?
  • Calling for more high-quality research, this book advocates for a clear-headed look at how these injuries affect people worldwide, and how they may be most effectively prevented.
  • Informed by statistical insights: seemingly random events are, in fact, organized in mathematical patterns.
  • As a former elite ballet dancer, Meredith's personal insight into the world of unexpected injuries provides scope, ensuring the book covers a range of unique accidents that will be pertinent for a broad audience.