Ulrich Beck - Risk Society

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68: Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity – Ulrich Beck

Definition:
Risk Society – a society increasingly preoccupied with the future, which generates the notion of risk.

Globalizing the risks of civilization
-The risks of civilization can be described in a formula: poverty is hierarchic, smog is democratic. -With the expansion of modernization risks, besides problems with endangering nature, health and food supply, social differences and limits are relativized. -Risk societies are not exactly class societies because their “risk positions” are classless. -Problems with globalization:

oFood chains connect everyone on earth
oAcid content of the air is destroying art sculptures
oModern geographical borders and barriers are being destroyed because of acid content of the air, i.e. Canadian lakes and Scandinavia

Rationalization and Relativism
-When everything turns into a hazard, nothing seems dangerous anymore. -“Ignorance is bliss.”
-Risk society switches from hysteria to indifference.

Boomerang Effect
-Eventually risks and hazards catch up with those who create and profit from creating the risks and hazards. (Karma)

Ecological devaluation and expropriation
-Boomerang effect also affects media, money, property and legitimation. -The destruction and endangering of nature and the environment have devaluation in property rights. -“Everything which threatens life on this earth also threatens the property and commercial interests of those who life from and off the commoditization of life and its requisites.”

Risk position as fate
-“Piggy-back problems”: problems that are ‘stowaways’ on other problems like toxins and pollutants related to pesticides.

International Inequalities
-“the proletariat of the global risk society settles beneath the smokestacks, next to refineries and chemical factories” -Hazardous industries have been transferred to low-wage countries of third world status. -There is no coincidence between...
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