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Critically evaluate Beck's Risk socitey Thesis as an aid to understanding enviromental problems - Essay Example

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Beck’s World Risk Theory: An Aid to Understanding Environmental Problems Introduction Global industrial development-driven environmental threats continue to rock the world defying levels of development. For example, seven biggest environmental threats, such as climate change, deforestation, pollution, loss of biodiversity, melting polar ice-caps and rising sea levels, oceanic dead zones, and explosive population growth (Zimmer’s 2012) are all perceived to be caused by the global scale of modern industrialisation, and these similarly threaten all countries whether they are developed or not, putting at equal risk both the rich and the poor…
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Critically evaluate Becks Risk socitey Thesis as an aid to understanding enviromental problems
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Critically evaluate Beck's Risk socitey Thesis as an aid to understanding enviromental problems

(Meadows et al. 1992, cited in Picuo and Marshall (2002, p.294; Long 2011) Additions to the environments meant to make life more convenient (e.g., cars, air conditions, soaps) or to address the limitations of natural production (e.g., genetically modified crops; industries for mass production; fertilizers and pesticides for bigger harvest) in order to provide the needs of a fast growing population brought about by rapid urbanisation have caused various types of pollution. Together, they have put the survival of ecosystems under threat (Blowers 1997). Hence, modernisation has created ‘goods’ (e.g. wealth), but with it emerges the ‘bads’ (e.g. risks) (Possamai and Possamai-Inesedy 2007) that are too harmful to the environment. Consequently, the globalisation of modernisation has also resulted to the globalisation of various threats to the environment. ...
Such observation is similarly shared by Matten (2004) in environmental management. Perhaps, what made Beck’s risk theory this popular were his “powerful analyses of the ways in which the rise of the risk society is transforming social reproduction, nature and ecology, intimate relationships, politics and democracy” (Elliot 2002, p.294). It is therefore worth endeavour to critically evaluate Beck’s World Risk Theory as an aid to understanding environmental problems. To do so, the discussion shall be opened with the brief understanding of the said theory. Beck’s World Risk Theory in Brief Beck’s risk theory is only one of the three theorems that make up his theory of reflexive modernisation – a “theoretical attempt to make sense of some of the broad currents of social change affecting Western societies” (Aiken 2000, p.3). Simply explained, the theory of reflexive modernisation, which Beck (1994, p.4) describes as the ‘radicalisation of modernity’, postulates that the world is in a new epochal shift. Traditional social ordering systems are being systematically transformed and detraditionalised. Contrary to Marxism, this qualitative shift which is unintentional and unpolitical is not post-modern but rather a new epoch of modernity, because it is being driven not by the crises but rather by the radicalised scientific and technological advances of world capitalism. Paradoxically however, these technologies can also be globally destructive which impacts are unforeseen, unintended, and unknowable, making ta traditional forms of security and control futile, hence the term, world risk society. (Beck 2006; 2008) In his article ‘Living in the world risk society’, Beck (2006, p.329) has argued that we are all living in a world of uncontainable risk, ... Read More
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