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Risk Society thesis

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  1. Introduction
  2. Risk society thesis: Rethinking our modernity to act towards modernization
    1. Facing issues that the society can not fix
    2. Ulrich Beck's risk society theory
  3. Questioning the role of science as a two-edged tool to cope with the environmental issue
    1. Science: The detection and creation of risks
    2. Intrinsic limits pointing to omniscience of the scientific knowledge
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

By offering a radical reorientation of mainstream sociology, modern social theory illuminates theoretical themes in environmental sociology. Indeed, it has recently begun to contest the honoured epistemological assumption of the environment as an independent, objective reality. New environmental issues such as global warming has actually triggered off a shift in social theory to a more direct theoretical concern with the social consequences of environmental degradation and resource management by environmental sociology. Hence, the Risk Society Thesis posits the ubiquity of risks, in social, economic, political and environmental fields. Insofar as risk is a problem of knowledge and the uncertain outcome of the relationship between the possible and the real, the social dimension of environmental issues is at stake. That is the reason why ecological alarmism seems to reflect growing uncertainties and anxieties to the changing character of late modern society.
How to apprehend such a complex issue that relies on every societal fields? By linking environment to sociology, to what extent does the Beck's Risk society thesis offers a new approach of the crisis modern societies are facing? As science is closely related to environmental sociology, which keys is it likely to offer us?
First of all, Beck's view of the modern world is one of transformation that is ?the modernization of modernity?, which demands a societal response to this shift. Then, as ozone depletion, acid rain, global warming have all become environmental concerns, green movement and green politics seems to be a new answer. Hence, it is essential to assess the extent to which science knowledge and expertise provide a sufficient basis for policy making.

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