'…what for Weber, Adorno and Foucault was a terrifying vision - the perfected surveillance rationality of the administered world - is a promise for for those living in the present. It would be a fine thing if surveillance rationality really worked, or if we were terrorized only by consumption and humanism, or if the smooth operation of systems could be re-established by appeal to ‘autopoesis’ or through ‘national federalism reforms’ and ‘technological innovation offensives’. It would be a fine thing if the liturgical chants of more markets, more technologies, more growth and more flexibility could still provide reassurance in troubled times…. (Beck - world at risk)
What causes the inhabitants of the world risk society an anthropological shock is no longer the metaphysical homelessness of a Beckett, the absent Godot, or the nightmare visions of a Foucault, nor the mute despotism of rationality which frightened Max Weber. Like good old communism the spectre of good old postmodernism no longer keeps Europeans awake at night. What worries people nowadays is the premonition that the anthropological certainty of modernity is founded on quicksand. It is the temptation and the horror of anti-modernity, the panic stricken fear that the fabric of our material dependencies and moral obligations could rend and the delicate functional system of world risk society collapse… (Ulrich Beck World at Risk)
… genuinely political paradigms are sought in experiences and phenomena that are not usually considered political or are considered only marginally so… Agamben…(Means Without End)
… risks are social constructions and definitions based upon corresponding relations of definition. There existence takes the form of (scientific and alternative scientific) knowledge. As a result, their reality, can be dramatised or minimised, transformed or simply denied according to the norms which decide what is known and what is not. They are the products of struggles over definitions within the context of specific relations of definitional power…. Ulrich Beck (2007/2009)
"The incurable sentimentalist." Lindle studied Armstrong from across the room. "So far as I know, you’re the first certifiably sane one who’s proved too spiritually lazy to discipline his own emotions. And look where, it’s got you." His chuckle was self-assured. "Two hundred grand reward, alive or dead!" He shook his well-groomed head in mock sorrow. "Remember what I said to you once—see how you like the madhouse now?"
"He got no response. Armstrong stared at him with sphinx-like lack of expression.
"It’ll be a darned sight madder before long," Lindle prophesied. "I shall always remain amazed that anyone so fundamentally sane should choose to support the world’s lunatics. I have been lost for an explanation of this contradiction. It seems to me that either the psychotron was out of order and made a wrong diagnosis of you, or else we never did succeed in convincing you of the facts of history past and present. Personally, I lean to the latter theory. You are sane—but an incurable skeptic. I think your bullheaded actions since we last saw each other are entirely due to your inability to appreciate what you’re up against. You don’t believe even your own eyes!" He sat more erect in his chair. "It wouldn’t do you any harm to put some trust in them for once—and allow me to remind you that there is always time to repent."
Armstrong’s face remained blank; his lips did not part."
by Eric Frank Russell