Techno-environmental risks and ecological modernisation in “double-risk” societies: reconceptualising Ulrich Beck’s risk society thesis

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Abstract

By utilising a relatively underused framework developed by Maurie J. Cohen (1997. Risk society and ecological modernisation alternative visions for post-industrial nations. Futures, 29 (2), 105–119), this theoretical paper joins two of the most debated theories of environmental politics – ecological modernisation (EM) and Ulrich Beck’s risk society thesis – into a unified framework and problematises some of their implicit assumptions to theoretically introduce the notion of a “double-risk” society. In addition, it explains the differences between the traditional “Risk Society” theorised by the German sociologist Ulrich Beck and the newly introduced concept of a “double-risk” society. The arguments put forward in this paper provide some fresh perspectives facilitating the study of the techno-environmental risks and other ecological problems faced by “double-risk” societies. Theoretically, this paper adds to both EM theory and the risk society thesis as the generalisability of their existing versions is limited precisely because they fail to address some important social changes at the global structural level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)258-275
Number of pages18
JournalLocal Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Volume23
Issue number3
Early online date10 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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ecological modernization
environmental risk
environmental politics
social change
society
thesis

Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Risk Society
  • ecological modernisation
  • techno-environmental risks
  • ‘Double-risk’ society

Cite this

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title = "Techno-environmental risks and ecological modernisation in “double-risk” societies: reconceptualising Ulrich Beck’s risk society thesis",
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