Global Risk

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Risk and Modernity:

  • As giddens (2002) writes: "risk is the mobilising dynamic of a society bent on change, that wants to determine its own future rather than leaving it to religion, tradition or the vagaries of nature... modern capitalism embeds itself in the future by calculating profit and loss, and therefore risk, as a continuous process" 
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...

  • this understanding of risk, especially in relation to harm and dnager contrasts with Pre-englightenment understandings.
  • - floods, drought, plauges, poor harvest, earthquakes, were understood as arising from external sources... e.g 'acts of god' 
  • modernity: concerned with industrialisation. production, control, and instrumental rationaliity (Lupton: 1999) 
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Modernity and risk management:

  • RISK = probability x consequences: 
  • that is: how likely is that an event will occure times how significant is it likely to be.
  • Acts as basis for risks calculations, management and insurance: 
  • e.g probabilistic rist assessment - a reactos melt down 1 in 100,000 years, actuarial calculation - insurance principle. 
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Insurance:

  • individuals ad society attempts to protect themselves against risk in the form of insurane, e.g: 
  • - life insurance
  • - car insurance
  • - home insurance
  • - NHS
  • - welfare state.
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A different type of risk:

  • Ulrich BECK amongst others, has argued that technology introduces new forms of global risk that are different to anything we have seen before. 
  • e.g Chernobyl Reactor Hall: explosion and fire melted the reactor. Particulate and gaseous radiation cloud realse. 
  • love probability high consequence risk.
  • radiation related deaths, diseases and birth defects extend into furture.
  • new by towns remain today still evacuated today. 
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A different type of risk:

  • Ulrich BECK amongst others, has argued that technology introduces new forms of global risk that are different to anything we have seen before. 
  • e.g Chernobyl Reactor Hall: explosion and fire melted the reactor. Particulate and gaseous radiation cloud realse. 
  • love probability high consequence risk.
  • radiation related deaths, diseases and birth defects extend into furture.
  • new by towns remain today still evacuated today. 
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Features of technological global risks:

  • Risks mainly created by industry in conjunction with science.
  • not constrained by national boundaries
  • indeterminate duration
  • often not visible to the senses
  • require specialist/ scientific understanding
  • consequences cannot  be fully calculated
  • affect people indiscriminately - no one is immune
  • uninsurable 
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Features of technological global risks:

  • Risks mainly created by industry in conjunction with science.
  • not constrained by national boundaries
  • indeterminate duration
  • often not visible to the senses
  • require specialist/ scientific understanding
  • consequences cannot  be fully calculated
  • affect people indiscriminately - no one is immune
  • uninsurable 
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Current Era:

  • Post/ high modernity: Perasive Risk culture - industrial progress as threat. 
  • e.g global warming from production of Co2 loss of ozone layer from nuclear fallout from power plants. 
  • there is a shift in perspective from 'what nature can do to us' to 'what we have done to nature' 
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