The Risk Society Revisited

Social Theory and Governance

Eugene A. Rosa, Aaron M. McCright, and Ortwin Renn
Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0259-2
Publication: Jul 15

HC: $61.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0258-5
Publication: Dec 13

Ebook: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0260-8
Publication: Dec 13

264 pages
6 x 9
22 figs.

How risk is a feature in all societies, and its connection to the challenges of sustainability

Read the Introduction (pdf).


The subject of "risk society," especially is various theoretical conceptualizations, is unbelievably complex; the writings of Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens are anything but clear and straightforward, many would say impenetrable, especially of Giddens. The same can be said of Niklas Luhmann's work. With that said, each is an extraordinarily well-known theorist who each has pushed the notion of increasing risk in society in major ways as a cause and consequence of modernization. The proposal's authors have cleverly altered the title to "Society at Risk" to make room for an expanded view (beyond Beck) of risk in late modernity. All three authors are experts on risk, with particular acknowledgement of Gene Rosa and Ortwin Renn. Aaron McCright is an up and coming young sociologist who has completed path-breaking research of the production of climate change denial in the U.S. -- Thomas Webler

"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

Table of Contents

Foreword: Risk Society as Political Category, by Ulrich Beck Preface Acknowledgments 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 References Index

About the Author(s)

Eugene A. Rosa (1941-2013) was the Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy, Professor of Sociology, Affiliated Professor of Fine Arts, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach at Washington State University.

Ortwin Renn is Professor and Chair of Environmental Sociology and Technology Assessment at Stuttgart University (Germany). He directs the Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at Stuttgart University (ZIRIUS) and the non-profit organization DIALOGIK.

Aaron M. McCright is Associate Professor of Sociology in Lyman Briggs College, the Department of Sociology, and the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University.