What is the definition of cultural hazard?


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Alex Wheeler answered
Whilst there is no true Oxford definition for 'cultural hazard', the term could be defined as a term for a hazardous activity that belongs to a particular culture or subculture.

For example, the nightclub culture for many people in the western world means staying up late, recreational drug use, and generally living a life of excess. Many people 'burn the candle at both ends' - that is to say, they may stay out until the early hours of the morning, and then go to work a full time job the next day. The cultural hazards here are the dangers of drug taking, and (perhaps more lightly) the problem of showing up to work hungover! In this way, a cultural hazard is somewhat similar to an occupational hazard.

Cultural hazards can come in two main types:

  • Those that are spoken about with jollity by members of the culture who embrace the hazards as a necessary evil in order to enjoy their pastimes.

  • Those that are spoken about by outsiders, who see the dangers of some of the culture's activities and frown upon them.
To relate this to the earlier example, many students will joke about going to a morning lecture with a hangover, or even about missing a lecture entirely; and whilst some may talk about their drug use, it is usually in jovial, carefree tone. The older generation, however, will likely see their drug use a dangerous, and point out that it puts a strain on already stretched health services.

Through this example, you can see that people who choose to be part of a culture are aware of the hazards and are happy to endure them in order to continue being a part of it. Those outside will usually find it difficult to understand the motivations of members of a different culture, and may disagree with many aspects of it altogether without experiencing any of it.

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