The Impact of the Risk Society Thesis on Environmental Politics and Management in a Globalizing Economy - Principles, Proficiency, Perspectives
Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 371-398, 2004
Posted: 29 Oct 2010
Date Written: June 1, 2004
The risk society thesis by Ulrich Beck has been one of the more extensively discussed frameworks in environmental management. This paper tries to give an overview over Beck's extant and fragmented work and ventures to identify the main contributions and implications. It starts with a discussion of the background and principles of Beck's work and identifies the core ideas as well as the theoretical underpinnings. On that basis the paper shows the manifestation of Beck's early ideas in contemporary environmental politics revealing the influence of the risk society thesis especially for environmental management. Following on to more contemporary parts of Beck's work the paper then shows that 'risk' and 'globalization' are in fact manifestations of the same phenomenon. Both challenge and invert the role of governments on the one side and the role of various social actors on the other side. The paper concludes by discussing major consequences of Beck's thinking for the current agenda of corporate actors in particular.
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