Risk in the Modern Age

Social Theory, Science and Environmental Decision-Making

  • Maurie J. Cohen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction

  3. Critiques of Risk and Rationality

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. Ortwin Renn, Carlo C. Jaeger, Eugene A. Rosa, Thomas Webler
      Pages 35-61
    3. Kristen Purcell, Lee Clarke, Linda Renzulli
      Pages 62-79
  4. Theoretical Extensions of the Risk Society

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 81-81
    2. Joris Hogenboom, Arthur P. J. Mol, Gert Spaargaren
      Pages 83-106
  5. Empirical Assessments of Reflexive Modernization

  6. Risk and Environmental Decision-Making

  7. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 249-249
    2. David Lowenthal
      Pages 251-257
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 258-264

About this book


Environmental decision-making in recent decades has become increasingly dependent on scientific expertise. Grounded in universal principles of knowledge, these expert evaluations often depart from the assessments of ordinary members of the public. Whether the issue is nuclear power, genetic testing, food safety, or biodiversity, conservation lay people are increasingly charging experts with being ignorant of local contextual considerations. Scientists, as well as many policy-makers, in turn contend that the public is hopelessly irrational in gauging environmental risks. A growing group of social theorists has begun to take a keen interest in these disputes because risk captures central themes of late modernity. Increasing individualization, emerging new social movements, and declining public trust in key institutions are notions that loom large in these debates. Highlighting both theoretical and empirical perspectives, this volume brings together a distinguished group of environmental sociologists who critique and extend current thinking on what it means to live in a 'risk society'.

Editors and affiliations

  • Maurie J. Cohen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Oxford Centre for the Environment, Ethics and Society Mansfield CollegeOxford UniversityUK
  2. 2.Environmental Studies ProgramBinghamton UniversityUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Palgrave History Collection
  • Print ISBN 978-1-349-62203-0
  • Online ISBN 978-1-349-62201-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site