The impossibility of risk management in the Anthropocene

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This paper seeks to understand why modern politics fails to implement an appropriate risk management approach to climate change. The paper draws attention to the proposition that risk management of the future requires not merely intervention in technological innovation and human behavioural practices but that more importantly, what is required is intervention from the political system. However, this change is unlikely to come because the dominant technological and individualistic understanding of global modernity render us incapable of unleashing the potential for change that is necessary in our political thinking and institutions. Moreover, political intervention is challenged by the fact that 'overburdened modern individuals' are incapable of participating in building the necessary new democratic and political institutions. This incapacity arises for the exact same reasons that these institutions are needed. Subsequent to this pessimistic conclusion, the paper identifies city governance, grassroots movements, and action research as possible spaces for optimism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCity Preparedness for the Climate Crisis : A Multidisciplinary Approach
EditorsFrancisco J. Carrillo, Cathy Garner
Number of pages11
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication dateNov 2021
ISBN (Print)9781800883659
ISBN (Electronic)9781800883666
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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