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An evaluation of the claim that we live in a 'risk society' as well as a ’regulatory state’

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Paul B.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Are we living in a risky society?
    1. The major proponent of ?the risk society'
    2. Clasifying the four dangers into 4 main groups
  3. Other prominent features of the risky society
    1. Risks associated with genetically modified organisms
  4. Ecological disaster and atomic fallout
  5. Are we living in a regulatory state?
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

The aim of this paper is to assess why it is argued that we live in a 'risk society' as well as a 'regulatory state'. By the end of this paper it should be clear that we do indeed live in a 'risk society' and a 'regulatory state' despite what others like Margaret Thatcher might argue. There should also be a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the 'risk society' and the 'regulatory state'. Before engaging in any meaningful discussion it is essential that the key concepts surrounding the discourse be clarified.
The 'risk society is not intended to imply an increase of risk in society as implied in some of the literatures, but rather it is a society organized in response to risks. "It is a society increasingly preoccupied with the future (and also with safety), which generates the notion of risk" and subsequently 'the regulatory state'. Ulrich Beck defines 'risk' as a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced by modernization itself (1992:21).

[...] The earth is under severe ecological stress caused by exponential growths in population, overexploitation of its resources, widespread pollution, defilement, contagion or impurity which all inflicts some harmful interference of natural processes, causing governments to reorient their approaches to public policy so as to incorporate mitigation measures to guard against an impending catastrophe as a result. Even more alarming is the fact that all these hazards are intricately intertwined thereby producing greater exposure to other risks, as demonstrated by the ensuing global warming brought on by unsustainable environmental practices and ozone depletion. [...]


[...] We live in a risk society because risks transcends national borders and efforts to deal with them requires international cooperation which has led to the creation environmental and other risk management institutions as well as early warning system likely to reduce the probable impacts of a hazard. The perceptive notion of a risk society is what has led to the development of insurance companies that allows for the citizens, businesses, and government to insure selves and properties against future indemnities. [...]


[...] The rape and murder of six year old Shanique Wilson; the screams of a burning nine year old along with the rest of her family trapped in her flaming home, had to be ignored as gunmen open fire on her potential rescuers preventing them from doing so until it was too late; the brutal slaying of three siblings in Kilancholly district; the report of a teenager dragged from class and gang raped are just a few of the horrific realities that have moved the Jamaican government to seriously contemplate warranting the death penalty in response to the atrocities of the risk society. [...]

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