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Based on an overview of the history of risk from ancient Greece to the modern era, the chapter discusses some of the most influential perspectives on risk in contemporary social theory. This includes the (world) risk society perspective, the governmentality perspective, and the systems theoretical perspective. A claim is advanced that each of these perspectives highlights key aspects of risk and thus can be seen as contributing, when connected to other perspectives, a coherent understanding of the role risk plays in contemporary societies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Social Theory : Contemporary Theories And Issues
EditorsPeter Kivisto
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationNew York/Cambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication date17 Dec 2020
ISBN (Print)9781107162693
ISBN (Electronic)9781316677452
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020


  • Danger
  • Governmentality
  • Insurance
  • Risk
  • Second-order observation
  • Systems theory

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