Using this definition as the starting point, we get the subsequent argument that ‘Systemic events’ showed that industrial societies were generating hazards ‘that they could not control’ (Beck, 1999, 51, 44, 72). ‘Compounded risk’ had become the new meta-norm in a networked society (Daniell, 2000, 18). Hence, the thinking here is that the world is spinning out of control with people in the grip of “blind and impersonal” forces that they can neither control nor comprehend. In this context (Obama, 2006), the development of contraceptive pills and their widespread use has to be seen as a valiant effort at providing “space” to the marginalized (ethnic minorities, women) as a means of empowering them and providing them with reproductive choices.
Ulrich Beck’s World Risk Society (1999) was a sociological meditation on the interlinked forces of ‘globalization, individualization, gender revolution, underemployment, and global risks (as ecological crisis and the crash of global financial markets)’ (Beck, 2000, 2). Beck examined the ‘risk calculus’ concept, the power dynamics and sociology of risk (why groups profit from ‘manufactured uncertainty’), the ‘sub-politics’ of global dissent (anti-globalist and environmental campaigns), and how reflexive modernity uses conjecture in response to crises.
Beck’s work was essentially a treatise on the chaos that the processes that we shall talk about subsequently were unleashing on the world. In this context, Beck was in consonance with other social scientists that foresaw a dystopian vision for humanity and tried to warn us to the inherent dangers. In such a bleak scenario, it is worthwhile to consider the fact that the development of contraceptive pills is indeed a bright spot in an otherwise anarchical situation. For instance, Kaplan in his book The