Democracy, Risk, and Community: Technological Hazards and the Evolution of Liberalism

Overview

This book presents a novel and compelling thesis about technological risk, liberalism, and policy making in liberal societies. Opposed to most theories of risk that focus on individual decision makers and models or rational choice, this book argues that risks must be seen as intrinsically both emergent and political phenomena. As such, risks resist reduction to individual actors, events, or decisions. To fully understand and make policy for risk, then, it is necessary to recognize that risks call attention to the...

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Democracy, Risk, and Community: Technological Hazards and the Evolution of Liberalism

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Overview

This book presents a novel and compelling thesis about technological risk, liberalism, and policy making in liberal societies. Opposed to most theories of risk that focus on individual decision makers and models or rational choice, this book argues that risks must be seen as intrinsically both emergent and political phenomena. As such, risks resist reduction to individual actors, events, or decisions. To fully understand and make policy for risk, then, it is necessary to recognize that risks call attention to the connections between individuals and events, to the power being exercised in the determination and distribution of risks, and to how the failure to see risks as political, emergent phenomena results in policy failure, as in instances of "Not in My Backyard" (NIMBY) controversies.

Liberal societies have particular difficulty in coping with risk, due to the excessively individualistic political theory and epistemology that undergirds liberalism. Thus, seeing risks as emergent has dramatic impact on the fundamental political concepts that make up liberal political theory and operate within liberal societies. The book treats especially the concepts of consent, community, authority, rights, responsibility, identity, and political participation. The meaning of each of these ideas has been altered by modern technological risks, and coping with risk will require that liberal societies redefine what these most basic concepts of political principles are to mean in political practice and policy making.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hiskes is a political scientist with a strong background in technology policy. He is also a teacher at every step of the way through this densely argued work....A book to be digested and pondered. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals."—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195120080
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Series: Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Risk and the Redefinition of Politics 9
2 Risk, Consent, and Communal Identity 33
3 Risk and the Authority of Ends 57
4 Risk, Self-Interest, and the New Technology of Rights 83
5 Risk and Responsibility 108
6 Democratic Politics and Participatory Risks 132
Notes 159
Bibliography 183
Index 193
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