A Whole Bundle of Risk

I think it’s fair to say Beck’s concepts of Risk and Risk Society aren’t well-covered at A-level, partly because his ideas are difficult to get across to students and partly because, not to put too fine a point on things, they’re not easy to understand and encapsulate in a few pithy points.

Be that as it may, the basic idea of Risk Society is an important one in the context of a lot of sociological development because it gives students to opportunity to challenge the (over-) easy distinction that’s often made in textbooks and exams between modernity and postmodernity. Risk Society is very much a concept that rejects postmodernity (despite what you may have been lead to believe in some quarters…) in favour of understanding how “the modernist project” has evolved in what Beck – in common with theorists like Giddens – considers to be Late Modernity.

This post brings together the disparate resources, both text and film, we’ve posted over the past few years into one handy Bundle that’s ideal for teachers looking to update and expand their knowledge and understanding of Risk and for students wanting to get some sort of handle on the topic.

While it’s conventional at this point to say something like “Enjoy!”, if you’ve got even a passing acquaintance with the subject matter you’ll know how ridiculous that would sound.

Endure!” would probably be entirely more-appropriate, but I’ve done my best to make the whole thing as understandable as is humanly possible. Whether or not I’ve succeeded, I’ll leave you to be the judge.

Sociology Magazine No.1 Risk Society

A set of short magazine articles covering key aspects of Beck’s concept of Risk Society: Risk, 1st and 2nd modernity, Goods and Bads, reflexive modernisation; individualism, the institutionalisation of individualism, globalisation, detraditionalisation and organised irresponsibility. Read the whole thing to get a comprehensive grounding in the theory of risk or dip into and out of it as the fancy takes.

Risk Society

A shortened and unvarnished explanation of the key aspects for Risk Society. If you prefer your text in an online magazine format then this Flipbook version has you covered.

Risk Society: Simplified

This shorter, somewhat simplified, version is based around two key processes embedded in the Risk Society Project: the Modernisation of Self and Society.

Risk: Ulrich Beck

We asked Ulrich Beck what he meant by the concept of Risk Society and this is what he told us…

Sociology ShortCuts: Risk Society

In this short film Professor Brian Wynne talks about aspects and implications of Risk (New qualities, Invisible and undetectable risks, Universal risks, Irreversible risks, Risk crimes).

Sociology ShortCuts: Reflexive Modernisation

And if you’ve ever wondered about the concept of reflexive modernisation underpinning Beck’s ideas, Professor Brian Wynne explains it in this short, punchy, film.

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