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Risk Society: Crisis, Power, and Neoliberalism

Unravel the complexities of the modern world through the lens of risk society. Explore the societal implications of global risks, from environmental disasters to economic instability, and their impact on governance, culture, and individual psyche. Dive into foundational texts by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, alongside critical perspectives by scholars such as Michel Foucault and Mary Douglas, to understand the emergence and consequences of the risk society paradigm.

  • All levels
  • 21 and older
  • $335
  • Earn 10% Rewards
  • Price Lock
  • Online Classroom
  • 12 hours over 4 sessions

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  • $335/person
  • 12 hours over 4 sessions
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Class Description

Description

What you'll learn in this lecture class:

By the mid-1980s, modernity appeared to have reached a new and dangerous precipice: nuclear standoff characterized the political domain, while the Chernobyl disaster focused global attention on the toxic effects of even ordinary, non-nuclear industrial production. Humanity’s celebrated technical progress had, it seemed, generated novel, potentially catastrophic, risks at the global level. Not only did these new conditions create new challenges for governance and public policy, but they deeply affected the psychic and cultural states of individuals and societies no longer able to blithely count upon an ever brighter future. “Risk society is a catastrophic society,” wrote the late sociologist Ulrich Beck in 1986, one in which “the exceptional condition threatens to become the norm.” What does it mean to view the world through the lens of risk, with one eye always fixed on the horizon of possible disaster?

This class offers an introduction to the idea of a risk society and its material, political, and affective consequences. Delving into foundational works by Beck and his contemporary Anthony Giddens, as well as their critics, we will ask: What are the main attributes of the risk society, and to what extent are they truly novel? How should we understand the production and uneven distribution of risks in contemporary life, and to what extent is the idea of a risk society compatible with older critiques of capitalism and the state? What role does ‘individuation’ or ‘responsibilisation’—where individuals are tasked with responsibility to navigate increasingly complex social and economic worlds—play within the risk society? How should we think about risks that are both universal and unequally distributed along lines of race, class, and gender? What mechanisms and coping mechanisms are offered for the management of risk by individuals, institutions? Alongside Beck and Giddens, readings will include works by Michel Foucault, Mary Douglas, Deborah Lupton, Gerd Gigerenzer, and others.

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

Refund Policy

  • Upon request, we will refund less 5% cancellation fee of a course up until 6 business days before its start date.
  • Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to 75% refund or full course credit.
  • After the first class: 50% refund or 75% course credit.
  • No refunds or credits will be given after the second class.

In any event where a customer wants to cancel their enrollment and is eligible for a full refund, a 5% processing fee will be deducted from the refund amount.

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Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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