Risks are always future events that may occur, that threaten us. But because this constant danger shapes our expectations, lodges in our heads and guides our actions, it becomes a political force that transforms the world.
Ulrich Beck, World at Risk (2007)
How is the presence of future catastrophes ‘manufactured’? Along what routes does risk acquire the predicate ‘real’ — in other words, how does it come to reign as ‘believed’ anticipation in people’s minds and in institutions and indeed often across the boundaries between nations, regions, religions, and political parties and between rich and poor? The distinction between risk as anticipated catastrophe and the actual catastrophe forces us instead to take the role of staging seriously. For only by imagining and staging world risk does the future catastrophe become present…
Ulrich Beck, World at Risk (2009)
The ‘clash of risk cultures’, the collision of culturally different ‘risk realities’ (i.e. perceptions of risk), is developing into a fundamental problem of global politics in the twenty-first century.
…risk is not an objectively measurable quantity. What does the ‘reality’ of risk mean? Risks do not have any abstract existence in themselves. They […] count as urgent, threatening, and real or as negligible and unreal only as a result of particular cultural perceptions and evaluations.
Ulrich Beck, World At Risk (2009)