Risk, Environment and Modernity: Towards a New Ecology

004678About This Book 

Environmental and risk issues are symptomatic of deep-seated social and cultural tensions and transformations in the fabric of contemporary societies. This major contribution to the study of risk, ecology, and the place of social theory in making sense of the environment helps us to understand the politics of ecology and the place of social theory in making sense of environmental issues. The book provides insights into the complex dynamics of change in so-called risk societies. In this volume, the issues of risk and environment are explored at three levels. The contributors offer a critical assessment of dominant institutional ways of thinking and talking about risk and counterpose these with more open, self-critical approaches. They explore individuals’ sense of risk and its expression in collective insecurities and they show how political thinking and debate on risk and environmentalism has been, and can further be, transformed. Wide-ranging and accessible, Risk, Environment & Modernity contains contributions from leading scholars, including Ulrich Beck, author of Risk Society. It will rapidly establish itself as the key text in the field and will be required reading by students of sociology, political science, geography, and environmental studies.

“This is the strongest edited collection on the relationship between modernity, risk and the environment to be published to date and it deserves a place on the book shelf of every one who takes these issues seriously. Perhaps more importantly this book needs to be read by everyone who thinks that existing responses will ultimately ‘solve the environmental problem.’ The editors present the collection as a slow manifesto capable of transforming the reductionism and realism they see dominating both natural and social scientific approaches to the environment. In twelve essays, organized into three sections, considerable progress is made toward this ambitious goal. . . . This is a book with an important message one can only hope that it is read and widely debated.” –a prepublication review in Environmental Politics. Back to top

Table of Contents 

Introduction, Bronislaw Szerszynski, Scott Lash and Brian Wynne

Ecology, Realism and the Social Sciences

Risk Society and Provident State, Ulrich Beck

May the Sheep Safely Graze? A Reflexive View of the Expert-Lay Knowledge Divide, Brian Wynne

Re-vision, Barbara Adam

The Centrality of Time for an Ecological Social Sciences Perspective:On Knowing What to Do, Bronislaw Szerszynski

Environmentalism and the Modern Problematic

Life as a Planning Project, Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim

Individualization at Work, Marco Diani

Occupational Identity and Office Automation: The Tears inside the Stone, John Maguire

Reflections on the Ecology of Fear: Solitary Individualization, Helmuth Berking

The Moral Impact of Cultural Modernization in Late Modernity

The Institutionalization of Environmentalism, Klaus Eder

Ecological Discourse and the Second Transformation of the Public Sphere: The Shaping of the Global Environmental Agenda, Andrew Jamison

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations: Ecological Modernization as Cultural Politics, Maarten A Hajer

Environmental Knowledge and Public Policy Needs: On Humanising the Research Agenda, Robin Grove-White

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Web Extra

Other articles on the this topic available to read at SAGE Journals online:

Theory Culture and Society

Body and Society

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Other Books on the Topic 

Other books on Modernity available at: Other social theory books available at:

Other environmental politics books available at:

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Other Books by the Author 

Also by Scott Lash

Recognition and Difference: Politics, Identity, Multiculture (2002)

Critique of Information (2002)

Economies of Signs and Space (1994)

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