Skip to main content

Embracing Risk

The Changing Culture of Insurance and Responsibility

Embracing Risk

The Changing Culture of Insurance and Responsibility

For much of the twentieth century, industrialized nations addressed social problems, such as workers’ compensation benefits and social welfare programs, in terms of spreading risk. But in recent years a new approach has emerged: using risk both as a way to conceive of and address social problems and as an incentive to reduce individual claims on collective resources.

Embracing Risk explores this new approach from a variety of perspectives. The first part of the book focuses on the interplay between risk and insurance in various historical and social contexts. The second part examines how risk is used to govern fields outside the realm of insurance, from extreme sports to policing, mental health institutions, and international law. Offering an original approach to risk, insurance, and responsibility, the provocative and wide-ranging essays in Embracing Risk demonstrate that risk has moved well beyond its origins in the insurance trade to become a central organizing principle of social and cultural life.

329 pages | 6 line drawings, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2002

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Society

Sociology: Social Institutions

Table of Contents

List of Contributors
1. Embracing Risk
Tom Baker and Jonathan Simon
Part One: Toward a Sociology of Insurance and Risk
2 Risk, Insurance, and the Social Construction of Responsibility
Tom Baker
3 Beyond Moral Hazard: Insurance as Moral Opportunity
Deborah Stone
4 Embracing Fatality through Life Insurance in Eighteenth-Century England
Geoffrey Clark
5 Imagining Insurance: Risk, Thrift, and Life Insurance in Britain
Pat O’Malley
6 Insuring More, Ensuring Less: The Costs and Benefits of Private Regulation through Insurance
Carol A. Heimer
7 Rhetoric of Risk and the Redistribution of Social Insurance
Martha McCluskey
Part Two: Risk(s) beyond Insurance
8 Taking Risks: Extreme Sports and the Embrace of Risk in Advanced Liberal Societies
Jonathan Simon
9 At Risk of Madness
Nikolas Rose
10 The Policing of Risk
Richard V. Ericson and Kevin D. Haggerty
11 The Return of Descartes’s Malicious Demon: An Outline of a Philosophy of Precaution
Francois Ewald (translated by Stephen Utz)

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press