A Historical Perspective on Risk

  • David Lowenthal


We are fast learning that we all live in the same risky world. To understand and cope with environmental problems, we need to surmount differences deeply embedded in particular histories, languages, and modes of thought. This is very much evident in the strikingly different perceptions and approaches of the American scholars who have contributed to this volume in comparison to the authors from continental Europe.


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  1. 1.
    Adapted from R. Cobb, A Sense of Place (London: Duckworth, 1975), pp. 47–8. Dedijer’s, The Road to Sarajevo (New York: Simon amp; Schuster, 1966) was, Cobb exulted, ‘an excellent and very readable book unencumber[ed by] methodology.’Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    U. Beck, ‘Risk Society and the Provident State,’ pp. 27–43 in S. Lash, B. Szerszynski, and B. Wynne, eds, Risk, Environment, and Modernity: Towards a New Ecology ( London: Sage, 1996 ).Google Scholar
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    E. Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, trans. K. Fields (New York: Free Press, 1995, originally published 1912), pp. 213–14, 351–2, 372, 379.Google Scholar
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    A. Appadurai, ‘The Past as a Scarce Resource,’ Man, 16 (1981): 201–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 6.
    B. McKibben, The End of Nature ( New York: Anchor Books, 1990 ).Google Scholar

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© David Lowenthal 2000

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  • David Lowenthal

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