Risk, Environment and Modernity: Towards a New Ecology


Edited by: Scott Lash, Bronislaw Szerszynski & Brian Wynne

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  • Theory, Culture & Society

    Theory, Culture & Society caters for the resurgence of interest in culture within contemporary social science and the humanities. Building on the heritage of classical social theory, the book series examines ways in which this tradition has been reshaped by a new generation of theorists. It will also publish theoretically informed analyses of everyday life, popular culture, and new intellectual movements.

    EDITOR: Mike Featherstone, University of Teesside


    Roy Boyne, University of Teesside

    Mike Hepworth, University of Aberdeen

    Scott Lash, Lancaster University

    Roland Robertson, University of Pittsburgh

    Bryan S. Turner, Deakin University

    Recent volumes include:

    The Consuming Body

    Pasi Falk

    Cultural Identity and Global Process

    Jonathan Friedman

    The Established and the Outsiders

    Norbert Elias and John L. Scotson

    The Cinematic Society

    The Voyeur's Gaze

    Norman K. Denzin

    Decentring Leisure

    Rethinking Leisure Theory

    Chris Rojek

    Global Modernities

    Mike Featherstone, Scott Lash and Roland Robertson

    The Masque of Femininity

    The Presentation of Woman in Everyday Life

    Efrat Tseëlon

    The Arena of Racism

    Michel Wieviorka

    Undoing Culture

    Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity

    Mike Featherstone


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    This book arose out of an international symposium – ‘The Risk Society: Modernity and the Environment’ – organised at Lancaster University in May 1992 by the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC) and the Department of Sociology. The symposium was founded on a critical examination of the perspectives of Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, focusing on modernity, risk and the cultural dimensions of contemporary environmental issues. It occurred at a time when dominant understandings of risk and environmental issues were undergoing what many at the symposium felt to be an unreflexive shift towards a highly globalised, scientised and universalistic idiom.

    The Lancaster meeting brought together for the first time a range of European social theorists and scholars interested in these issues, not only as academic fare but also in terms of their profound importance to latemodern society, and to the turbulent debate over the meaning of European Union. The book is inspired by a shared conviction that more creative intellectual work is needed if we are to engage fully with the social, cultural and political dimensions of these issues, dimensions whose complexities are being obscured by the dominant modes of thought in policy and academic circles.

    We are grateful to our authors for the work and commitment they have shown in responding to our editorial efforts to offer a more coherent framework of debate than would be offered by a simple collection of papers. We are also grateful to those many symposium participants from all parts of Europe whose ideas and contributions do not appear as chapter. Thanks are also due to Anne Stubbins for her highly effective organisational support, and to Robert Rojek at Sage for his continued interest and calm reassurance. The UK's Economic and Social Research Council provided funding for the symposium, as well as for CSEC's ongoing research programme on Science, Culture and the Environment. This and the continuing intellectual support of Robin Grove-White and other colleagues in CSEC, together with that of members of the Department of Sociology, and the Lancaster Cultural Change Network have played a crucial role in making this volume possible.


    Barbara Adam is a social theorist working at the University of Wales, Cardiff. She has published widely on the social analysis of time. She is the author of Time and Social Theory (Polity, 1990) and Timewatch (Polity, 1995), and editor of the Sage journal Time and Society.

    Ulrich Beck is Professor of Sociology at the University of Munich. He is the author of Risk Society (Sage, 1992), Ecological Politics in an Age of Risk (Polity, 1995), Ecological Enlightenment (Humanities Press, 1995), The Renaissance of Politics (Polity, 1996) and co-author of Reflexive Modernization (Polity, 1994) and The Normal Chaos of Love (Blackwell, 1995).

    Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim is Professor of Sociology at the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. She is the author of Techno-Health (Humanities Press International, 1995) and co-author of The Normal Chaos of Love (Blackwell, 1995).

    Helmuth Berking is Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, Illinois. He is the author of Masse und Geist: Studien zur Soziologie in der Weimarer Republik (1984), and has written extensively on lifestyle, new social movements and politics in East and West Germany.

    Marco Diani is Research Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and Director of the Institut de Recherches sur le Moderne, at the Université de Savoie, Chambéry, France. His publications include The Immaterial Society (Prentice Hall, 1992), and the edited collections Restructuring Architectural Theory (Northwestern University Press, 1989) and L'Intelligenza dell'Automazione (Franco Angeli, 1991).

    Klaus Eder is Professor of Sociology at the Humboldt University, Berlin, and at the European University Institute, Florence. His publications include Geschichte als Lernprozess (Suhrkamp, 1985), Der Vergesellschaftung der Natur (Suhrkamp, 1988) and The New Politics of Class (Sage, 1993).

    Robin Grove-White is Director of the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University. He was Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England from 1981 to 1987, has served as Specialist Adviser (Environment) to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities, and is still actively involved in environmental politics. He has written widely on the social and cultural aspects of environmental conflicts.

    Maarten Hajer teaches sociology at the University of Munich, specialising in environment, risk and technology in the context of theories of modernisation. He is the author of The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernisation and the Policy Process (Clarendon Press, 1995).

    Andrew Jamison is Associate Professor of Science and Technology Policy and Director of Studies at the Research Policy Institute, University of Lund. He is the co-author of The Making of the New Environmental Consciousness (Edinburgh University Press, 1990), and, with Ron Eyerman, of Social Movements: A Cognitive Approach (Polity, 1991).

    Scott Lash is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. He is the author of Sociology of Postmodernism (Routledge, 1990) and co-author of The End of Organized Capitalism (Polity, 1987), Economies of Signs and Space (Sage, 1993) and Reflexive Modernization (Polity, 1994).

    John Maguire is Professor of Sociology at University College, Cork, and the author of Marx's Paris Writings (Gill and Macmillan, 1972) and Marx's Theory of Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1979). His current research interests are in emotional and cultural critiques of organisations and policymaking. He is the author, with Joe Noonan, of Maastricht and Neutrality: Ireland's Neutrality and the Future of Europe (People First / Meitheal, 1992).

    Bronislaw Szerszynski is Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University. He has published a number of articles on ethics and environmentalism, and is currently engaged in a research project on sustainable development, cultural movements and identity.

    Brian Wynne is Professor of Science Studies and Research Director at the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University. He has published widely in the field of science studies, most notably in the areas of risk and public understanding. He is the author of Rationality and Ritual (British Society for the History of Science, 1982) and co-editor of Misunderstanding Science (Cambridge University Press, 1995).

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