, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 313-314
Date: 25 Sep 2008

Ortwin Renn, Risk Governance: Coping with Uncertainty in a Complex World

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This important work compiles a lifetime of studies by Ortwin Renn, a sociologist who teaches at the Social Sciences Institute in Stuttgart. The author warns us that much of this material has been published before, but the useful essays, which precede each chapter, were hard to find in the literature, as they were prepared by the author as separate documents for the International Risk Governance Council. These essays are now easy to locate in the book as the paper is tinted in a light gray shade, so that a reader may read the gray sections as a separate book, to be expanded in the white chapters as more information on some specific topic is desired. This device turns out to be didactic and effective.

The development of twentieth century societies has uncovered a number of problems, which constitute the subject matter of the sociology of technology and the environment. There are environmental crises of worldwide extent and accelerated patterns of interaction between social and natural pro