Risk / Edition 1

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Overview

Written in a clear and accessible language, this book gives a balanced account of the many theoretical approaches taken to the diverse phenomenon of risk, using concrete examples to illustrate abstract points. It highlights some key themes such as uncertainty and individual responsibility, which emerge as common to different theories and fields of study. The book is perfectly suited as an introduction for new students in sociology, political science, anthropology, media studies and health studies.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An exciting introduction to the sociology of risk with interestingand challenging ideas about edgework, uncertainty and muchelse."
Health, Risk & Society

"This treatise is particularly successful for the way that itsucceeds in bringing together discussion of how risk features insocial and political lives with theoretical analyses and empiricalstudies of risk."
Sociology

"This book, by one of the rising stars of sociology,demonstrates that without the sociology of risk it is impossible tounderstand the ambivalences and uncertainties of our time."
Ulrich Beck, University of Munich

"In the context of today's global financial meltdown JakobArnoldi's Risk is a must read. It is at the same time anintroduction to risk and the most comprehensive account available.It addresses risk in war, global geo-politics, health, environmentand general 'living on the edge'. It comprises an original theoryof knowledge in today's risk societies. Arnoldi tells us knowledgeis possible, but that this must remain uncertain knowledge."
Scott Lash, University of London

"A wide-ranging and thorough appraisal of the impacts andeffects of risk in the social sciences and, more broadly, societyat large. This timely and authoritative book melds togethertheoretical perspectives and contemporary risk issues in aprogressive and enlightening way."
Gabe Mythen, University of Liverpool

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jakob Arnoldi is Vice Dean and Director of Research, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii

1 Introduction 1

Risks are social 1

Risk in contemporary society 3

The (un)reality of risk 7

Two imagined scenarios involving risk 9

The sociological approach to risk 14

This book 16

2 The possibility of Hume: a brief genealogy of the conceptof risk 20

Risk and modernity 20

A slow ‘modern’ breakthrough 26

Probability 28

Risk, statistics, government – the discovery of society31

Risk in advanced modernity 33

Conclusion 35

3 Theories about risk 38

Mary Douglas 38

Cultural values and modes of organization 40

Ulrich Beck 46

Reflexive modernization, individualization and cosmopolitanism50

Governmentality 53

Risks in current societies 55

Other theories 61

Summary 64

4 Risk, technology and nature 67

Technology and being green 67

Technology and complexity 70

Nature, environment, ecology 72

Risks as hybrids 75

Global risks, vulnerability and inequality 80

Summary 82

5 Risk, knowledge and uncertainty 84

Does science know? 84

Science in the risk society 86

Uncertainty and science 91

Post-normal science and precaution 94

The public understanding of science 96

‘Doing things’ with science and risk 99

Summary 101

6 Risk and culture 105

The role of culture 105

Ways of acting, talking and understanding: defining culture106

Science and culture 111

Culture, risk and political interest 114

The social amplification of risk 117

Summary 121

7 Risk and the mass media 122

The media and perceptions of risk 122

Bad news is good news 126

Competition and commercialization 131

The media, health and lifestyle 133

Conclusion 136

8 Risky futures: pleasure and capitalism 138

Climbing mountains 138

Edgework, individualization and entrepreneurialism 140

A present future 144

Calculating the risks, not knowing the odds 148

Risk and the burden of responsibility 152

Summary 155

9 Risk, politics and government 158

The power of defining risk 158

Transnational risk regulation 161

Cosmopolitanism 163

Terror, war and risk 165

Crime and risks 168

Health and risk subjects 172

Summary 176

10 Conclusion 181

Categories of risk? 181

Risks as potentials 183

Risk, responsibility and individualization 185

Where to, risk? 187

References 190

Index 204

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