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Governing environmental harms in a risk society


Higgins, V and Natalier, K, Governing environmental harms in a risk society, Controversies in Environmental Sociology, Cambridge University Press, R White (ed), Cambridge, pp. 77-91. ISBN 9780521601023 (2004) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2004 Cambridge University Press

DOI: doi:10.1017/CBO9780511804434.006


The definition and governing of environmental harms has emerged as a key site of controversy in recent sociological writing (see Adam and Van Loon, 2000). Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity has become a touchstone for many of those engaging with these issues. The original text, published in German as Riskiogesellschaft, developed a theory that moves beyond a description of risk to trace the contours of an altered modernity – a risk society. Beck is credited with developing a "highly original formulation of the theory of risk" which is more sophisticated in its application than other sociological approaches (Elliot, 2002: 299; see also Adam and Van Loon, 2000; Irwin, 2001). Nevertheless, his work has been the subject of considerable debate, and has highlighted ongoing tensions between so-called ‘realist’ and ‘social constructionist’ perspectives on the definition and governing of risk.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:environment, risk
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Environmental sociology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Higgins, V (Professor Vaughan Higgins)
ID Code:138155
Year Published:2004
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-03-26
Last Modified:2020-07-22
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