World at Risk
December 2008, Polity
A new feature of our world risk society is that risk is produced for political gain. This political use of risk means that fear creeps into modern life. A need for security encroaches on our liberty and our view of equality.
However, Beck is anything but an alarmist and believes that the anticipation of catastrophe can fundamentally change global politics. We have the opportunity today to reconfigure power in terms of what Beck calls a 'cosmopolitan material politics’.
World at Risk is a timely and far-reaching analysis of the structural dynamics of the modern world, the global nature of risk and the future of global politics by one of the most original and exciting social thinkers writing today.
1 Introduction: Staging Global Risk 1
2 Relations of Defi nition as Relations of Domination: Who Decides What is and is Not a Risk? 24
3 The 'Cosmopolitan Moment' of World Risk Society or: Enforced Enlightenment 47
4 Clash of Risk Cultures or: The Overlapping of the State of Normalcy and the State of Exception 67
5 Global Public Sphere and Global Subpolitics or: How Real is Catastrophic Climate Change? 81
6 The Provident State or: On the Antiquatedness of Linear Pessimism Concerning Progress 109
7 Knowledge or Non-Knowing? Two Perspectives of 'Reflexive Modernization' 115
8 The Insurance Principle: Criticism and Counter-Criticism 129
9 Felt War, Felt Peace: Staging Violence 140
10 Global Inequality, Local Vulnerability: The Conflict Dynamics of Environmental Hazards Must be Studied within the Framework of Methodological Cosmopolitanism 160
11 Critical Theory of World Risk Society 187
12 Dialectics of Modernity: How the Crises of Modernity Follow from the Triumphs of Modernity 212
References and Bibliography 243
- A major new book by one of the world's leading sociologists and social thinkers.
- This book picks up the themes first addressed by Beck in his best-selling book Risk Society and reworks them for the 21st century.
- Beck places the risks and threats associated with global warming, international terrorism and the increasingly volatile global economy at the centre of his social theory.
- This book is set to become a classic of contemporary social thought.
John Urry, University of Lancaster
“Beck deploys the concept of risk as a sharply focused
flashlight that allows him to see what is typically obscured by
dominant notions and explanations. This becomes a process of
discovery, rare in the social sciences today, concerned as they are
with proof. He brilliantly conceptualizes these discoveries in
terms of categories not usually used in risk analysis, such as
cosmopolitanism. A must-read book.”
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University