'Refuse and the ‘risk society’: The political ecology of risk in inter-war Britain'
Social History of Medicine
Oxford University Press
This article responds to current uses and critiques of Ulrich Beck’s ‘risk society’ thesis by historians of science and medicine. Those who have deployed engaged with the concept of risk society concept have mainly been content to accept the fundamental categories of Beck’s analysis. In contrast, we argue that the Beck’s risk society thesis underplays two key themes. Firstly, the role of capitalism and capitalist social relations as a the driver of technological change and the transformations in the reproduction of everyday life; and secondly, the ways in which hegemonic discourses of risk can be appropriated and transformed by counter-hegemonic forces. In place of ‘risk society’ we propose an approach based upon a ‘political ecology of risk’, which emphasizes the social relations that that are foundational to the everyday politics of environmental health.
The Wellcome Trust
This is an open access article which is freely available in ORE or from the publisher's web site by following the DOI in this record. Please cite the published version.
Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. 246 - 266