Modern Society as Risk Society: Implications of Modernity on Private Security
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Information Science / Centre for Security Research
German sociologist Ulrich Beck has devised an exclusive theory of risk and reflexive modernisation, impacting considerably on contemporary sociological thinking (Elliott, 2002). One of the core tenants of Becks argument is that modernisation is ‘dissolving’ industrial society and in its place, leaving behind a new ‘modernity’ (Shearing & Stenning, 1981). Beck refers to this new modernity as ‘risk society’, a type of society where the notion of ‘risk’ becomes the new lens through which individual and institutional thinking is guided in contemporary societies (Hall, 2002). Drawing on the work of Beck and other scholars, this paper examines the growing concerns with security/protection, by placing the analysis within the context of the late modern or risk society. The paper attempts to demonstrate how security is likely to be impacted by present society’s growing focus towards the control and management of uncertainty and risk.