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Risk Society

  • By: Gregory Borne
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Coined by scholar Ulrich Beck, the risk society thesis is that risk is a key organizing principle in contemporary society. Beck's Risk Society; Towards a New Modernity (1992), and subsequent World Risk Society (1999), has become a significant and highly relevant synopsis of the interaction of humanity and its environment and the consequence this has for institutional change and political dynamics. The underlying message of World Risk Society is that an older industrial society, whose basic principle was the distribution of goods, is being replaced by an emergent risk society that is structured around the distribution of hazards.

This analysis distinguishes between three epochs of modernity, which include premodernity, industrial or first modernity, and finally, second or late modernity, which is defined as a reflexive modernity. ...

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