Ulrich Beck

Professor, Munich University & London School of Economics

Email | Download Hi-Resolution Picture

How wealthy nations manage risks like climate change has been the life-long work of one of Germany's leading sociologists, Ulrich Beck, author of the landmark "Risk Society." Beck has argued that as societies like Europe and the U.S. get richer and more developed they change their relationship to modern institutions like the nation. Beck calls these "second modern" societies because they are becoming more modern, not leaving modernity behind. On the one hand this can be positive and Beck writes of the need for a new global cosmopolitanism, but it can also create contradictions, with second modern individuals feeling little desire to make the kinds of investments nation states have traditionally made in infrastructure and technology to create prosperity and development.

Publications by Ulrich Beck

German Europe (2013)





Twenty Observations on a World in Turmoil (2012)





World at Risk (2008)






Cosmopolitan Vision (2006)









"Clash of risk cultures or critique of American Universalism," Contemporary Sociology, 40(6): 662-667(2011).


Beck, Ulrich & Grande, Edgar, "Varieties of second modernity: the cosmopolitan turn in social and political theory and research," British Journal of Sociology, 61(3): 409-443 (2010).


"Climate for change, or how to create a green modernity?Theory, Culture and Society, 27(2-3): 254-266 (2010).


"Critical Theory of World Risk Society: A Cosmopolitian Vision," Constellation, 16(1) (2009).


"Beyond class and nation: Reframing social inequalities in a globalizing world," British Journal of Sociology, 58(4): 679-705 (2007).


"Europe's crisis is an opportunity for democracy," The Guardian (November 28, 2011)