The Risk Society Revisited
Social Theory and Governance
Publication: Jul 15
Publication: Dec 13
Publication: Dec 13
6 x 9
How risk is a feature in all societies, and its connection to the challenges of sustainability
Risk is a part of life. How we handle uncertainty and deal with potential threats influence decision making throughout our lives. In The Risk Society Revisited, Eugene A. Rosa, Ortwin Renn, and Aaron M. McCright offer the first book to present an integrated theory of risk and governance.
The authors examine our sociological understanding of risk and how we reconcile modern human conditions with our handling of risk in our quest for improved quality of life. They build a new framework for understanding risk—one that provides an innovative connection between social theory and the governance of technological and environmental risks, and the sociopolitical challenges they pose for a sustainable future.
Showing how our consciousness affects risk in the decisions we make—as individuals and as members of a democratic society— The Risk Society Revisited makes an important contribution to the literature of risk research.
"The Risk Society Revisited is innovative, as is the authors’ ability to summarize the works of a number of leading European risk theoreticians and apply their ideas to the area of risk governance. This book makes an important contribution to the social theory and risk governance fields."
—Ragnar E. Löfstedt, Professor of Risk Management and the Director of King's Centre for Risk Management, King's College London
"The Risk Society Revisited is an exceptional book that puts the major scholars on risk and risk society together in a single entity. The surprise addition of Jürgen Habermas is an interesting stroke of genius. This book will be incredibly important for comprehensively engaging these scholars on risk. The authors write clearly and effectively, and their book will become a must-have in the U.S. at least and likely in Europe as well."
—Steven R. Brechin Professor of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University
"This book takes an abstract approach to a concrete problem: how authorities assess risk and direct social policy accordingly. The authors assume an underlying consensus over the common social good on which decisions are made. They recognize a conflict between experts who rely on math and sciences, and ordinary citizens who rely on anecdotes, hunches, and folklore, but then imply that the common good will best be achieved if laymen submit to professionals' judgment.... Risk is not an unchangeable fact of life. It is created by someone."
"In the introduction the authors acknowledge the long-term structural and cultural changes that pushed us into a risk society. They argue that since there will always be real risks there is a need for concrete strategies to improve human ability and capacity to manage risk…. The book is timely in providing theoretical support for many calls for more participative approaches in, for instance, risk communication and governance, regional planning, and public policy."
— American Journal of Sociology
"Risk has always been a central feature of societies.... In The Risk Society Revisited , Eugene Rosa, Ortwin Renn, and Aaron McCright contend that conventional regulatory strategies are ill-equipped to manage these risks. The authors’ purpose is to stimulate a paradigm shift in risk regulation based on a sociological framework in which risk society theory is integrated with the facts of risk decision-making processes.... Rosa, Renn, and McCright have invested their hearts in this volume. Their work is earnest. Ambitious. Worthy. They offer us not an immediately workable model, but a vision of effective risk governance to provoke reflection, conversation, and action in our confrontations with unprecedented threats to humans and the planet."
Table of Contents
Foreword: Risk Society as Political Category, by Ulrich Beck
Introduction: Sketching the Contemporary Era
Part I. Social Science Foundations of Risk
1 Meta-Theoretical Foundations
2 An Evolution of Risk: Why Social Science Is Needed to Understand Risk
Part II. Risk and Social Theory
3 Overarching Perspective: The Rational Action Framework
4 Refl exive Modernization Theory and Risk: The Work of Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens
5 Risk in Systems: The Work of Niklas Luhmann
6 Jürgen Habermas and Risk: An Alternative to RAP?
Part III. Risk Governance: Links between Theory and Strategy
7 The Emergence of Systemic Risks
8 The Three Companions of Risk: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Ambiguity
9 Risk Governance: A Synthesis
10 An Analytic-Deliberative Process: A Proposal for Better Risk Governance
Conclusion: Risk Governance as a Catalyst for Social Theory and Praxis