Beck, Ulrich


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Beck, Ulrich

(1944-) German sociologist, best known for his ‘landmark’ volume Risk Society – Towards a New Modernity (1992, originally 1986) in which he argued that contemporary societies, compared with previous societies, are characterized, not so much by ‘high risk’, but by new kinds of risk arising from REFLEXIVE MODERNIZATION (see U. Beck, A. Giddens and S. Lash, 1994). It is the universality and the inescapability of risk that characterizes the new RISK SOCIETY. Beck's distinctive ideas can be seen as pointing to a ‘third way’ between modernist and postmodernist theories of contemporary society