Things to Fear: Real Threats to People and the World
Ulrich Beck (1986, 1989) called today a risk society. He argued that in the past, premodernity, people faced risks mainly from the natural environment. Modern times created a risk society in which the risks increasingly come from human activity. Beck acquired his cachet among segments of the intelligentsia largely for the same reason that his more famous elder, Michel Foucault, gained his renown. They were both anti-Marxists. For his part, Beck avoided, if he did not downright deny, a class analysis. Nonetheless, his risk society offers a bit of useful perspective if it is turned upside down. In this context, developments like climate change and nuclear weapons easily come to mind.
KeywordsBurning Toxicity Corn Dust Petroleum
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