The evolution of the culture of risk linked to an uncertain future


An important question raised by the cultural theory of risk is the idea of a fundamental continuity between our present culture of risk and earlier periods of (pre)modernity (Wilkinson, 2001). While theorists of risk society (Beck, 1986/1992), as was mentioned, emphasize the novelty of our situation related to contemporary technological hazards, the cultural theory states that humanity has always been faced with risks of uncertain future, even annihilation. Risk taking and risk aversion ("shared confidence and shared fears") are part of a narrative about organizing human social relations (Douglas & Wildavsky, 1982, p. 8). Humans choose their risks together with their social institutions, which are commonly used to order their universes. Cultural theory explains the selection of dangers among traditional and modern people within the same framework.

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