November 19 , 2008


A Study of Its Origins, History and Politics


Over a period of several centuries, the academic study of risk has evolved as a distinct body of thought, which continues to influence conceptual developments in fields such as economics, management, politics and sociology. However, few scholarly works have given a chronological account of cultural and intellectual trends relating to the understanding and analysis of risks. Risk: A Study of its Origins, History and Politics aims to fill this gap by providing a detailed study of key turning points in the evolution of society's understanding of risk. Using a wide range of primary and secondary materials, Matthias Beck and Beth Kewell map the political origins and moral reach of some of the most influential ideas associated with risk and uncertainty at specific periods of time. The historical focus of the book makes it an excellent introduction for readers who wish to go beyond specific risk management techniques and their theoretical underpinnings, to gain an understanding of the history and politics of risk.

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  • Introduction
  • Homo Ludens, Aleatorics and the Birth of Probability
  • Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Fictions of Risk
  • ‘Pseudo–Sciences’ of Risk
  • Decision Analysis and the Social Control of Technology
  • International Crises and Precarious Global Systems
  • Macrosociological Dualities of Risk: Structural Inequality and Risk Society

Readership: Advanced undergraduates and graduate students in politics, economics, management, sociology and cultural studies history.
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