Interpretations and Anxieties
This chapter discusses the theory of Ulrich Beck, which is related to what he has termed the “risk society.” Beck rejects both the Marxist model that capitalism is doomed to collapse and ideas associated with Max Weber about the onward relentless advance of the “iron cage” of the bureaucratic state and technology-driven production. In their place, Beck proposes a different, more open-ended set of ideas about the setting in which fertility decline to unprecedented low levels has occurred. What he offers is a sociological framework in which to set the Second Demographic Transition, while departing from some of the claims made by others about that transition. Beck has pioneered an approach to the “risk society” as a way to go beyond outmoded ideas about social development in advanced industrial countries.
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