In this important book, Ulrich Beck - one of the leading social thinkers in Europe today - examines how work has become unstable in the modern world and presents a new vision for the future. Beck begins by describing how the traditional work society, with its life-long job paths, is giving way to a much less stable world in which skills can be suddenly devalued, jobs obliterated, welfare cover reduced or eliminated. The West would appear to be heading towards a social structure of ambiguity and multiple activity that has hitherto been more characteristic of the developing world. But what appears to be the end of traditional working practices can also be seen as an opportunity to develop new ideas and models for work in the twenty-first century.
Beck's alternative vision is centred on the concept of active citizens democratically organized in local, and increasingly also regional or transnational, networks. Against the threat of social exclusion, everyone can and must have a right to be included in a new definition and distribution of work. This will involve constant movement between formal employment (with a major reduction in working hours) and forms of self-organized artistic, cultural and political 'civil labour', providing equal access to comprehensive social protection. The aim must be to turn insecurity around, so that it becomes a positive and enriching discontinuity of life.
Drawing on his earlier work on risk and reflexive modernization, The Brave New World of Work is also closely linked to his studies on globalization and individualization. These processes are part of the same challenge upon which a politics of modernity must now base itself. Not only the future of work, but also the very survival of democracy and the welfare state will depend on the development of a newly committed and 'multi-active' transnational citizenship.
This book will be of great interest to second- and third-year students in sociology, politics, geography and the social sciences generally. It will also appeal to a broader audience interested in the issues and debates surrounding the changing nature of work.
This brilliant new book by one of Europe's leading social thinkers throws light on the global power games being played out between global business, nation states and movements rooted in civil society. Beck offers an illuminating account of the changing nature of power in the global age and assesses the influence of the ever-expanding counter-powers.
The author puts forward the provocative thesis that in an age of global crises and risks, a politics of "golden handcuffs" - the creation of a dense network of transnational interdependencies - is exactly what is needed in order to regain national autonomy, not least in relation to a highly mobile world economy. It is imperative that the maxim of nation-based realpolitik - that national interests have necessarily to be pursued by national means - be replaced by the maxim of cosmopolitan realpolitik. The more cosmopolitan our political structures and activities, Beck suggests, the more successful they will be in promoting national interests, and the greater our individual power in this global age will be.
The euro crisis is tearing Europe apart. But the heart of the matter is that, as the crisis unfolds, the basic rules of European democracy are being subverted or turned into their opposite, bypassing parliaments, governments and EU institutions. Multilateralism is turning into unilateralism, equality into hegemony, sovereignty into the dependency and recognition into disrespect for the dignity of other nations. Even France, which long dominated European integration, must submit to Berlin's strictures now that it must fear for its international credit rating.
How did this happen? The anticipation of the European catastrophe has already fundamentally changed the European landscape of power. It is giving birth to a political monster: a German Europe.
Germany did not seek this leadership position - rather, it is a perfect illustration of the law of unintended consequences. The invention and implementation of the euro was the price demanded by France in order to pin Germany down to a European Monetary Union in the context of German unification. It was a quid pro quo for binding a united Germany into a more integrated Europe in which France would continue to play the leading role. But the precise opposite has happened. Economically the euro turned out to be very good for Germany, and with the euro crisis Chancellor Angela Merkel became the informal Queen of Europe.
The new grammar of power reflects the difference between creditor and debtor countries; it is not a military but an economic logic. Its ideological foundation is `German euro nationalism' - that is, an extended European version of the Deutschmark nationalism that underpinned German identity after the Second World War. In this way the German model of stability is being surreptitiously elevated into the guiding idea for Europe.
The Europe we have now will not be able to survive in the risk-laden storms of the globalized world. The EU has to be more than a grim marriage sustained by the fear of the chaos that would be caused by its breakdown. It has to be built on something more positive: a vision of rebuilding Europe bottom-up, creating a Europe of the citizen. There is no better way to reinvigorate Europe than through the coming together of ordinary Europeans acting on their own behalf.
This book presents Ulrich Beck, one of the world's leading sociologists and social thinkers, as a Pioneer in Cosmopolitan Sociology and Risk Society. His world risk society theory has been confirmed by recent disasters - events that have shaken modern society to the core, signaling the end of an era in which comprehensive insurance could keep us safe. Due to its own successes, modern society now faces failure: while in the past experiments were conducted in a lab, now the whole world is a test bed. Whether nuclear plants, genetically modified organisms, nanotechnology - if any of these experiments went wrong, the consequences would have a global impact and would be irreversible. Beck recommends ignoring the mathematical morality of expert opinions, which seek to identify the level of a given risk by calculating the probability of its occurrence. Instead, man's fear of collapse should offer an opportunity for international cooperation and a cosmopolitan turn in the social sciences.
We live in a world that is increasingly difficult to understand. It is not just changing: it is metamorphosing. Change implies that some things change but other things remain the same capitalism changes, but some aspects of capitalism remain as they always were. Metamorphosis implies a much more radical transformation in which the old certainties of modern society are falling away and something quite new is emerging. To grasp this metamorphosis of the world it is necessary to explore the new beginnings, to focus on what is emerging from the old and seek to grasp future structures and norms in the turmoil of the present.
Take climate change: much of the debate about climate change has focused on whether or not it is really happening, and if it is, what we can do to stop or contain it. But this emphasis on solutions blinds us to the fact that climate change is an agent of metamorphosis. It has already altered our way of being in the world the way we live in the world, think about the world and seek to act upon the world through our actions and politics. Rising sea levels are creating new landscapes of inequality drawing new world maps whose key lines are not traditional boundaries between nation-states but elevations above sea level. It is creating an entirely different way of conceptualizing the world and our chances of survival within it.
The theory of metamorphosis goes beyond theory of world risk society: it is not about the negative side effects of goods but the positive side effects of bads. They produce normative horizons of common goods and propel us beyond the national frame towards a cosmopolitan outlook.
Comment en sommes-nous arrivés là ? Peut-on venir à bout de la crise européenne ? Lunion politique est-elle envisageable ? Pour Ulrich Beck, nous avons trop longtemps mis de côté la question dune société commune au profit de léconomie. Le célèbre sociologue allemand dénonce la politique daustérité menée par Angela Merkel, quil nomme merkiavélisme en référence au Prince de Machiavel. Ulrich Beck appelle de ses vux un réveil démocratique et pose les principes dun contrat social européen, seule alternative possible à cette « Europe allemande » vouée à léchec.
Religion posits one characteristic as an absolute: faith. Compared to faith, all other social distinctions and sources of conflict are insignificant. The New Testament says: `We are all equal in the sight of God'. To be sure, this equality applies only to those who acknowledge God's existence. What this means is that alongside the abolition of class and nation within the community of believers, religion introduces a new fundamental distinction into the world the distinction between the right kind of believers and the wrong kind. Thus overtly or tacitly, religion brings with it the demonization of believers in other faiths. The central question that will decide the continued existence of humanity is this: How can we conceive of a type of inter-religious tolerance in which loving one's neighbor does not imply war to the death, a type of tolerance whose goal is not truth but peace? Is what we are experiencing at present a regression of monotheistic religion to a polytheism of the religious spirit under the heading of `a God of one's own'? In Western societies, where the autonomy of the individual has been internalized, individual human beings tend to feel increasingly at liberty to tell themselves little faith stories that fit their own lives to appoint `Gods of their own'. However, this God of
their own is no longer the one and only God who presides over salvation by seizing control of history and empowering his followers to be intolerant and use naked force.
Twenty years ago Ulrich Beck published Risk Society, a book that called our attention to the dangers of environmental catastrophes and changed the way we think about contemporary societies. During the last two decades, the dangers highlighted by Beck have taken on new forms and assumed ever greater significance. Terrorism has shifted to a global arena, financial crises have produced worldwide consequences that are difficult to control and politicians have been forced to accept that climate change is not idle speculation. In short, we have come to see that today we live in a world at risk. A new feature of our world risk society is that risk is produced for political gain. This political use of risk means that fear creeps into modern life. A need for security encroaches on our liberty and our view of equality. However, Beck is anything but an alarmist and believes that the anticipation of catastrophe can fundamentally change global politics. We have the opportunity today to reconfigure power in terms of what Beck calls a 'cosmopolitan material politics'. World at Risk is a timely and far-reaching analysis of the structural dynamics of the modern world, the global nature of risk and the future of global politics by one of the most original and exciting social thinkers writing today.
Translated by Ciaran Cronin. The world is a state of turmoil. From the financial crisis to the chaos in the eurozone, from the Arab uprisings to protests in Athens, Barcelona, New York and elsewhere, many of the familiar frameworks are collapsing and we have to find new ways to orient ourselves in a world undergoing rapid change. Of course, it is necessary for political leaders to address local issues and react to people's specific demands, but without a cosmopolitan outlook, such a reaction is likely to be inadequate. Ulrich Beck's Twenty-one Observations on a World in Turmoil is a demonstration of cosmopolitan politics in practice. It is more than a mirror: it is a magnifying glass that brings into focus the processes that are transforming our world and highlights the great challenges we face today.
`Global domestic politics', the concept introduced and developed by Beck, is much more than a political theory, a philosophical utopia (or dystopia), a governance programme or a mental state: it is the reality of our times. Beck turns the argument that `global domestic politics' is an unrealistic ideology on its head, arguing that it is the proponents of the national who are the idealists. They view reality through the obsolete lenses of the nation-state and thus cannot see the profound global changes that are transforming our reality. Global domestic politics is therefore a perspective, a political reality and a normative idea. And it is the critical theory of our times since it challenges the most profound truths which we hold dear: the truths of the nation.
Those who advocate ideas about "postmodernity" and "post-industrialism" offer radical critiques of existing social and political institutions. But they provide very little in place of those institutions. It is all very well to criticize the limitations of social democracy, the welfare state, trade unionism, and social classes as agents of change, but once these have been thrown into crisis what other institutions do we have to depend on?
The Reinvention of Politics, suggests we should think again about forging a new model of politics for our times. An active, devolved civil society, Beck argues, can sustain the claim that modernity is inherently democratic. For many issues now - for example, those involving technology, environment protest, the family, or gender relations - belong to the domain of what the author calls "subpolitics".
The postmodern critique of modernity, in Beck's view, is based on mistaken generalizations about a transitional phase in the evolution of modern society. What is needed, he argues, is the reinvention of politics, corresponding to th new demands of a society which remains modern, but which has progressed beyond the earlier form of industrial society.
This book will be essential reading for second-year undergraduates and above in the fields of social and political theory, sociology and political science.
This is a brilliant study of the nature of love in modern society. Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim argue that the nature of love is changing fundamentally, creating opportunities for democracy or chaos in personal life.
In this new book, Ulrich Beck and the journalist Johannes Willms engage in a series of accessible conversations that reveal and explore the key elements in Beck's thought.
Ulrich Beck, one of the most important and influential contemporary social thinkers, reveals and expands his work in a series of conversations with journalist Johannes Willms.
These conversations shed new light onto the major themes in Beck's work and provide an insight into some of the commitments and beliefs that they rest upon.
Includes new thinking on the risk society and on globalisation, themes that have put him at the forefront of contemporary debates.
Witten in a clear and lucid way and thus ideal for anyone seeking to come to grips with Beck's work.
Europe is Europe's last remaining realistic political utopia. But Europe remains to be understood and conceptualized. This historically unique form of international community cannot be explained in terms of the traditional concepts of politics and the state, which remain trapped in the straightjacket of methodological nationalism. Thus, if we are to understand cosmopolitan Europe, we must radically rethink the conventional categories of social and political analysis.
Just as the Peace of Westphalia brought the religious civil wars of the seventeenth century to an end through the separation of church and state, so too the separation of state and nation represents the appropriate response to the horrors of the twentieth century. And just as the secular state makes the exercise of different religions possible, so too cosmopolitan Europe must guarantee the coexistence of different ethnic, religious and political forms of life across national borders based on the principle of cosmopolitan tolerance.
The task the authors have set themselves in this book is nothing less than to rethink Europe as an idea and a reality. It represents an attempt to understand the process of Europeanization in light of the theory of reflexive modernization and thereby to redefine it at both the theoretical and the political level.
This book completes Ulrich Beck's trilogy on `cosmopolitan realism', the volumes of which complement each other and can be read independently. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the key social and political developments of our time.
In this new book, Ulrich Beck develops his now widely used concepts of second modernity, risk society and reflexive sociology into a radical new sociological analysis of the cosmopolitan implications of globalization. Beck draws extensively on empirical and theoretical analyses of such phenomena as migration, war and terror, as well as a range of literary and historical works, to weave a rich discursive web in which analytical, critical and methodological themes intertwine effortlessly.
Contrasting a `cosmopolitan vision' or `outlook' sharpened by awareness of the transformative and transgressive impacts of globalization with the `national outlook' neurotically fixated on the familiar reference points of a world of nations-states-borders, sovereignty, exclusive identities-Beck shows how even opponents of globalization and cosmopolitanism are trapped by the logic of reflexive modernization into promoting the very processes they are opposing.
A persistent theme running through the book is the attempt to recover an authentically European tradition of cosmopolitan openness to otherness and tolerance of difference. What Europe needs, Beck argues, is the courage to unite forms of life which have grown out of language, skin colour, nationality or religion with awareness that, in a radically insecure world, all are equal and everyone is different.
Desiccation tolerance was essential when plants first began to conquer land, roughly 400 million years ago. While most desiccation-tolerant plants belong to basal phylogenetic taxa, this capacity has also evolved among some vascular plant species.In this volume renowned experts treat plant desiccation tolerance at the organismic as well as at the cellular level. The diversity of ecophysiological adaptations and acclimations of cyanobacteria, eukaryotic algae, mosses, and lichens is addressed in several chapters. The particular problems of vascular plants during dehydration/rehydration cycles resulting not only from their hydraulic architectures, but also from severe secondary stresses associated with the desiccated state are discussed. Based on the treatment of desiccation tolerance at the organismic level, a second section of the book is devoted to the cell biological level. It delineates the general concepts of functional genomics, epigenetics, genetics, molecular biology and the sensing and signalling networks of systems biology involved in dehydration/rehydration cycles. This book provides an invaluable compilation of current knowledge, which is a prerequisite for a better understanding of plant desiccation tolerance in natural as well as agro- and forest ecosystems where water is one of the most essential resources.
Individualization argues that we are in the midst of a fundamental change in the nature of society and politics. This change hinges around two processes: globalization and individualization. The book demonstrates that individualization is a structural characteristic of highly differentiated societies, and does not imperil social cohesion, but actually makes it possible.
Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim argue that it is vital to distinguish between the neo-liberal idea of the free-market individual and the concept of individualization. The result is the most complete discussion of individualization currently available, showing how individualization relates to basic social rights and also paid employment; and concluding that in as much as basic rights are internalized and everyone wants to or must be economically active, the spiral of individualization destroys the given foundations of social co-existence.
Ulrich Beck's best selling Risk Society established risk on the sociological agenda. It brought together a wide range of issues centering on environmental, health and personal risk, provided a rallying ground for researchers and activists in a variety of social movements and acted as a reference point for state and local policies in risk management. The Risk Society and Beyond charts the progress of Beck's ideas and traces their evolution. It demonstrates why the issues raised by Beck reverberate widely throughout social theory and covers the new risks that Beck did not foresee, associated with the emergence of new technologies, genetic and cybernetic. The book is unique because it offers both an introduction to the main arguments in Risk Society and develops a range of critical discussions of aspects of this and other works of Beck.
This book is devoted to 250 years of collecting, organizing and preserving paleontological specimens by generations of scientists. Paleontological collections are a huge resource for modern research and should be available for national and international scientists and institutions, as well as prospective public and private customers. These collections are an important part of the scientific enterprise, supporting research, public education, and the documentation of past biodiversity. Much of what we are beginning to understand about our world, we owe to the collection, preservation, and ongoing study of natural specimens. Properly preserved collections of fossil marine or terrestrial plants and animals are archives of Earth's history and vital to our ability to learn about our place in its future.The approach employed by the editors involves not only an introduction to the paleontological collections in general, but also information on the international and national collection networks. Particular attention is given to new exhibition concepts and approaches of sorting, preserving and researching in paleontological collections and also their neglect and/or threat. In addition, the book provides information on all big public museums, on important state museums and regional Museums, and also on university collections.This is a highly informative and carefully presented book, providing scientific insight for readers with an interest in fossil record, biodiversity, taxonomy, or evolution, as well as natural history collections at large.
Love and family life in the global age: grandparents in Salonika and their grandson in London speak together every evening via Skype. A U.S. citizen and her Swiss husband fret over large telephone bills and high travel costs. A European couple can finally have a baby with the help of an Indian surrogate mother.
In their new book, Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim investigate all types of long-distance relationships, marriages and families that stretch across countries, continents and cultures. These long-distance relationships comprise so many different forms of what they call `world families', by which they mean love and intimate relationships between individuals living in, or coming from, different countries or continents. In all their various forms these world families share one feature in common: they are the focal point in which different aspects of the globalized world become embodied in the personal lives of individuals. Whether they like it or not, lovers and relatives in these families find themselves confronting the world in the inner space of their own lives. The conflicts between the developed and developing worlds come to the surface in world families- they acquire faces and names, creating confusion, surprise, anger, joy, pleasure and pain at the heart of everyday life.
This path-breaking book will appeal to a wide readership interested in the changing character of love in our times.