Beck's Risk Society Theory

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Most importantly, ‘along with the growing capacity of technical options grows the incalculability of their consequences’ (Beck 1992), which underpins the idea with which this piece began: risk society does not differentiate between class.
One of the strengths of Beck’s ‘risk society’ thesis lies in his differentiation between class society and risk society, reflecting the wider changes seen in society (such as the emergence of the global economy, for example), arguably catalysed by globalisation and it’s widespread effects. If class society is characterised by scarcity, and can therefore be seen to be a community of need personified by the cry, “I am hungry!”, then Beck’s risk society is characterised by insecurity, and a community of anxiety shouting, “I am scared!”, (Beck 1992). This differentiation seems to reflect a progressive, modern thesis applied to our undeniably changed society. Beck sees modernity as inherently transformational because change is built into the existing social systems, allowing for a process of constant renewal. Therefore, it is unsurprising that we should see the recurring emergence of new risks, as social life is changing to such an extent that existing social and political institutions cannot respond adequately to the uncertainties that modernity brings (O’Brien 1999).
However, Beck’s critics would argue against his claim that the concept of class will no longer be adequate in understanding the new social reality that we are seeing emerge in
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