5. The expectationof theunexpected
requires that theself-evident is nolonger taken as self-evident.The words forthis are neither‘utopianism’ nor‘pessimism’ but‘irony’ and‘ambivalence The shock of danger is a call for a newbeginning. Where there is a new beginning,action is possible. Human beings enter intorelations across borders.
This commonactivity by strangers across borders meansfreedom.
All freedomis contained in this ability to begin.
There isa nostalgia built into the foundations of European sociological
thought, which has neverdisappeared. Perhaps, paradoxically, thisnostalgia
can be overcome with the theory of world risk society? My aim is a non -nostalgic,new critical theory to look at the past and thefuture of modernity.
-drawing onempirical researchfindings of theMunich ResearchCentre
Old dangers _ new risks:
what is newabout world risk society?2.
Ruse of history
: to what extent are globalrisks a global force in present and future worldhistory, controllable by no one, but which alsoopen up newopportunities of action for states, civil societyactors, etc.?3.
s: in order to understand themanufactured uncertainty, lack of safety andinsecurity of world risk society is there a needfor
a paradigm shift in the social sciences?
7.Old dangers _ newrisks: what is newabout world risksociety?We anticipate themin terms of
structuralarrangements aswell as of emergencyplanning
Modern society has become
a risk society inthe sense that it is increasingly occupiedwith debating, preventing and managingrisks that it itself has produced.
After all, our world appears a lot safer than that,say, of the wartorn regions of Africa,Afghanistan or the Middle East.Are modern societies not distinguished preciselyby the fact that to a large extent they havesucceeded in bringing under controlcontingencies and uncertainties, for examplewith respect to
accidents, violence andsickness
? The past year has once againreminded us, with the
Tsunami catastrophe,the destruction of New Orleans byHurricane Katrina, the devastation of largeregions in South America and Pakistan
,how limited the claim to control of modernsocieties in the face of
natural forces remains.But even natural hazards appear less randomthan they
used to. Although human interventionmay not stop earthquakes or volcanic
eruptions,they can be predicted with reasonable accuracy.