Ulrich Beck's Theory

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1. How does the idea of Risk articulated by Ulrich Beck, modify the traditional concept of1) Modernity 2) Science And what are the social consequences? Give examples from Climate change, Nuclear energy, Pollution etc.?

Answer – German Sociologist Ulrich Beck is known as one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. He along with Anthony Giddens coined the idea of a ‘risk society’ and challenged the traditional concepts of modernity and science, which were hallmarks of the industrial class-based society. He articulated the idea of ‘risk society’ and attributed it to the modern western societies.

The traditional societies, according to Beck were characterized by ‘uncertainty’ and not ‘risk’. Most of the hazards or dangers they faced were due to uncertainty arising mainly out of natural calamities, that put them at constant danger of loss of life and over which they had no control. However, Beck argues that modern societies on the other hand are ‘risk societies’ and many of the risks they face are due to their own actions. Further he postulates that the primary contradiction of the modern society is that most of the hazards and dangers it faces are its own creation, yet can neither be attributed nor managed by the society. An example put forward in this case is of nuclear technology, considered to be one of the biggest achievements of modern society and a symbol of progress in the realm of S&T. However, it has come to pose great many challenges to the very

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