Ulrich Beck World Risk Society Essay

3856 Words Mar 29th, 2013 16 Pages
Ulrich beck :world risk society

What is "risk society" and how did it emerge?
"Risk society" means that we live in a world out of control. There is nothing certain but uncertainty. But let's go into details. The term "risk" has two radically different meanings. It applies in the first place to a world governed entirely by the laws of probability, in which everything is measurable and calculable. But the word is also commonly used to refer to non-quantitative uncertainties, to "risks that cannot be known." When I speak about "risk society," it is in this latter sense of manufactured uncertainties. These "true" uncertainties, enforced by rapid technological innovations and accelerated societal responses, are creating a fundamentally new
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Not climate change, ecological disasters, threats of transnational terrorism, B.S.E., etc., per se, but the growing insight that we live in an interconnected world that is getting out of control, creates the novelty of the risk society. The challenges of the global risks at the beginning of the 21st century are discussed in conceptual and prescriptive terms that derive from the first modernity of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The risks we are confronted with cannot be delimited spatially, temporarily, or socially; they encompass nation-states, military alliances, and all social classes, and, by their very nature, present new kinds of challenges to the institutions designed for their control. The established rules of attribution and liability--causality, guilt, and justice--break down. That means that their careful application to research and jurisdiction has the contrary effect: the dangers increase and their anonymization is legitimated. So the main difference between the premodern culture of fear and the second modern culture of fear is: in premodernity the dangers and fears could be attributed to gods or God or nature and the promise of modernity was to overcome those threats by more modernization and more progress--more science, more market economy, better and new technologies, safety standards,

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