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Working paper

Risk, psychophysical numbing and value of individual and community lives: an empirical study

Gavrilov K. A.
This paper deals with the “value of life” concept in the field of risk analysis, especially in relation to the sociology of risk. The central part of the paper describes the methodology and main findings of an empirical study analysing the interconnection between the value of life and the value of the social whole. This empirical study is based on “psycho-physical numbing” research and utilises several ideas from folk sociology studies, particularly the notion of the “perceived entitativity” of groups and the corresponding dimensions and factors of “entitativity”. Our study demonstrates that the willingness to support programs and measures aimed at helping victims is generally affected by the description of the community under risk, particularly if the community is perceived as a high-entitative one.