The Deep Roots of Fear

The Deep Roots of Fear

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0070-5.ch006
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This chapter can be seen as the corollary of the book. The authors summarize the main findings of an ethnography that took five long years in the main bus stations and airport of the country. The four schools of risk perception were placed under the critical lens of scrutiny because of methodological limitations. The current chapter presents a rich empirical research, which though not statistically represented, helps in the expansion of the current understanding of risk perception. The ways risks are conceived in laypeople and experts notably vary. The authors finally found a clear correlation between trauma and risk aversion in professionals while bad working conditions are the preconditions to perceive further risks in laypeople.
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Retiro Bus Station

At a first glimpse, Retiro is the largest Bus Station of the country, totalizing almost 75 gates and over 100 Argentine companies operating in the site. Located in Buenos Aires city, Retiro is 400 meters in length dispatching hundreds of buses to all Argentina, and neighboring countries as Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. The station is dotted with gift shops, a bar, numerous food concessions, a pharmacy and a Bank of the city of Buenos Aires –to name a few. Our preliminary observations show that Retiro gathers passengers travelling with families and children. The police remind to the passengers all the time they should be careful with the baggage. The theft of luggage is very common in Retiro. Travelers belong to middle and low classes (in comparison with the domestic Airport who is reserved for middle and higher classes). It is not surprisingly that people do not drink alcohol beverage –most probably because our participation was through the morning. What is more important, they are edgy and tense using their cell phones all the time. Others prefer to read a book or listening to music. The idea of losing baggage is a key factor in the risk-perception process because it culturally represents a mythical source for survival. In the capitalist system, travels are granted through the articulation of countless electronic devices and forms of payment as credit cards or virtual money. Unlike in ancient times, travelers do not depend on their load but today, the baggage still remains as a symbolic source of power. Many of the consulted interviewees manifested one of their most important fears was losing the baggage or being stolen while travelling. This was followed by car or bus accidents in the route. People, at this bus station, keep an eye on the luggage constantly. It is a priceless good which needs to be protected!

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