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Social Theories of Risk and the Environment1
Social Theories of Risk and the Environment
Ortwin Renn
Introduction

Risk has been a focal topic of many disciplines, professional activities and practical actions. Areas in which risks are being addressed range from natural hazards, technological threats, working conditions, ambient health impacts, crime, terrorism and pollution to leisure activities. It is the purpose of this article to review the variety of concepts of risk in the social sciences with special emphasis on environmental risks.

All concepts of risk have one element in common: the capability of humans to anticipate the consequences of events or human activities and take actions to protect themselves against potential negative outcomes (Urbano, 2015, p. 3). Philosophers call this ability of humans to anticipate virtual ‘futures’ contingencies. ...

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