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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii 1 Introduction 1 Risks are social 1 Risk in contemporary society 3 The (un)reality of risk 7 Two imagined scenarios involving risk 9 The sociological approach to risk 14 This book 16 2 The possibility of Hume: a brief genealogy of the concept of risk 20 Risk and modernity 20 A slow ?modern? breakthrough 26 Probability 28 Risk, statistics, government ? the discovery of society 31 Risk in advanced modernity 33 Conclusion 35 3 Theories about risk 38 Mary Douglas 38 Cultural values and modes of organization 40 Ulrich Beck 46 Reflexive modernization, individualization and cosmopolitanism 50 Governmentality 53 Risks in current societies 55 Other theories 61 Summary 64 4 Risk, technology and nature 67 Technology and being green 67 Technology and complexity 70 Nature, environment, ecology 72 Risks as hybrids 75 Global risks, vulnerability and inequality 80 Summary 82 5 Risk, knowledge and uncertainty 84 Does science know? 84 Science in the risk society 86 Uncertainty and science 91 Post-normal science and precaution 94 The public understanding of science 96 ?Doing things? with science and risk 99 Summary 101 6 Risk and culture 105 The role of culture 105 Ways of acting, talking and understanding: defining culture 106 Science and culture 111 Culture, risk and political interest 114 The social amplification of risk 117 Summary 121 7 Risk and the mass media 122 The media and perceptions of risk 122 Bad news is good news 126 Competition and commercialization 131 The media, health and lifestyle 133 Conclusion 136 8 Risky futures: pleasure and capitalism 138 Climbing mountains 138 Edgework, individualization and entrepreneurialism 140 A present future 144 Calculating the risks, not knowing the odds 148 Risk and the burden of responsibility 152 Summary 155 9 Risk, politics and government 158 The power of defining risk 158 Transnational risk regulation 161 Cosmopolitanism 163 Terror, war and risk 165 Crime and risks 168 Health and risk subjects 172 Summary 176 10 Conclusion 181 Categories of risk? 181 Risks as potentials 183 Risk, responsibility and individualization 185 Where to, risk? 187 References 190 Index 204

About the Author

Jakob Arnoldi is Vice Dean and Director of Research, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University.


"An exciting introduction to the sociology of risk with interesting and challenging ideas about edgework, uncertainty and much else." Health, Risk & Society "This treatise is particularly successful for the way that it succeeds in bringing together discussion of how risk features in social and political lives with theoretical analyses and empirical studies of risk." Sociology "This book, by one of the rising stars of sociology, demonstrates that without the sociology of risk it is impossible to understand the ambivalences and uncertainties of our time." Ulrich Beck, University of Munich "In the context of today's global financial meltdown Jakob Arnoldi's Risk is a must read. It is at the same time an introduction to risk and the most comprehensive account available. It addresses risk in war, global geo-politics, health, environment and general 'living on the edge'. It comprises an original theory of knowledge in today's risk societies. Arnoldi tells us knowledge is possible, but that this must remain uncertain knowledge." Scott Lash, University of London "A wide-ranging and thorough appraisal of the impacts and effects of risk in the social sciences and, more broadly, society at large. This timely and authoritative book melds together theoretical perspectives and contemporary risk issues in a progressive and enlightening way." Gabe Mythen, University of Liverpool

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