Ulrich Beck
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Ulrich Beck (15 May 1944 – 1 January 2015) was a well known German sociologist, and one of the most cited social scientists in the world during his lifetime. His work focused on questions of uncontrollability,
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and
uncertainty Uncertainty refers to epistemic Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, ...

uncertainty
in the
modern age Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, ...

modern age
, and he coined the terms " risk society" and "
second modernity Second modernity is a phrase coined by the German sociologist Ulrich Beck, and is his word for the period after modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era) and the ensemble ...
" or "
reflexive modernization The concept of reflexive modernization or reflexive modernity was launched by a joint effort of three of the leading European sociologists: Anthony Giddens use both this parameter and , birth_date to display the person's date of birth, date of d ...
". He also tried to overturn national perspectives that predominated in sociological investigations with a
cosmopolitanism Cosmopolitanism is the idea that all human being Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an o ...
that acknowledges the interconnectedness of the
modern world Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, ...
. He was a professor at the
University of Munich Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (also referred to as LMU or the University of Munich; german: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disse ...
and also held appointments at the ''Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme'' (FMSH) in Paris, and at the
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
.


Life

Beck was born in the Pomeranian town of
Stolp
Stolp
,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
(now Słupsk in
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
), in 1944, and grew up in
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...
. He began university studies with a focus on law at
Freiburg Freiburg im Breisgau Breisgau () is an Gau (administrative division), area in southwest Germany between the Rhine River and the foothills of the Black Forest. Part of the state of Baden-Württemberg, it centers on the city of Freiburg im Breis ...
, and from 1966 onwards studied
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the scie ...
,
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
,
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

psychology
and
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
at the University of Munich. Starting in 1972, after earning a
doctorate A doctorate (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...
, he was employed at Munich as a sociologist. In 1979 he qualified as a university lecturer with a
habilitation Habilitation is the procedure to achieve the highest university degree in many European countries in which the candidate fulfills certain criteria set by the university which require excellence in research, teaching, and further education. Its qu ...
thesis. He received appointments as professor at the universities of
Münster Münster ( , ; nds, Mönster) is an independent city An independent city or independent town is a city or town that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity (such as a province). Historical precursors In the H ...
(1979–1981) and
Bamberg Bamberg (, , ) is a town in Upper Franconia Upper Franconia (german: Oberfranken) is a ''Regierungsbezirk A ' () means "governmental district" and is a type of administrative division in Germany. Four of sixteen ' (states of Germany) are s ...
(1981–1992). From 1992 until his death, Beck was professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Sociology at the University of Munich. He received numerous international awards and honors, including election to the Council and Executive Board of the German Society for Sociology. From 1995 to 1997 he was a member of the ''Kommission für Zukunftsfragen der Freistaaten Bayern und Sachsen'' (
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
n and
Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...

Saxon
State Commission for Questions Concerning the Future). Beginning in 1999, he was the speaker of the DFG research programme on reflexive modernity. From 1999 to 2009 Beck was a spokesman of the Collaborative Reflexive Modernization Research Centre 536, an interdisciplinary consortium of four universities in the Munich area funded and overseen by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Beck's theory of interdisciplinary reflexive modernization on a basis of a wide range of topics in appropriate research was empirically tested. The theory of reflexive modernization works from the basic idea that the rise of the modern industrial age produces side-effects across the globe that provide the institutional basis and coordinates that modern nation-states question, modify, and open for political action. He was active as sociologist and public intellectual in Germany and throughout the world, regularly intervening in debates on the European Union, climate change and nuclear energy. At the time of his death, he and his international research group were only 1.5 years into the 5-year research project "Methodological Cosmopolitanism – in the Laboratory of Climate Change" (the Cosmo-Climate Research Project), of which Beck was the
Principal investigator In many countries, the term principal investigator (PI) refers to the holder of an independent grant and the lead researcher for the grant project, usually in the sciences, such as a laboratory study or a clinical trial Clinical trials are expe ...
. For this research project he received the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant, scheduled to terminate in 2018. Along with Beck, sociologists David Tyfield and Anders Blok lead work packages within the overall project. The project also fostered international research collaboration with various research 'hubs' in East Asia through the Europe-Asia Research Network (EARN). In cooperation with EARN, Beck and sociologist Sang-Jin Han had been set to lead a 2-year project for the
Seoul Metropolitan Government The Seoul Metropolitan Government is a local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of actio ...

Seoul Metropolitan Government
beginning in 2015. Beck was a member of the Board of Trustees at the Jewish Center in Munich and a member of the German branch of
PEN International PEN International (known as International PEN until 2010) is a worldwide association Association may refer to: *Club (organization), an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal *Trade association, an organization f ...
. He was married to the German
social scientist Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...
Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim. He died of a myocardial infarction on 1 January 2015, at the age of 70.


Research contributions

For 25 years, Beck delivered new diagnoses to the following question: How can social and political thought and action in the face of radical global change (environmental destruction, financial crisis, global warming, the crisis of democracy and the nation-state institutions) be intertwined in a new modernity? A radicalized modernity, for Beck, attacks its own foundations. Institutions such as the nation-state and the family are globalized 'from the inside'. Beck studied modernization, ecological problems, individualization and globalization. Later in his career, he embarked on exploring the changing conditions of work in a world of increasing global capitalism, declining influence of unions and flexibilisation of the labour process, a then new theory rooted in the concept of
cosmopolitanism Cosmopolitanism is the idea that all human being Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an o ...
. Beck also contributed a number of new words to German and anglophone sociology, including " risk society", "
second modernity Second modernity is a phrase coined by the German sociologist Ulrich Beck, and is his word for the period after modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era) and the ensemble ...
",
reflexive modernization The concept of reflexive modernization or reflexive modernity was launched by a joint effort of three of the leading European sociologists: Anthony Giddens use both this parameter and , birth_date to display the person's date of birth, date of d ...
and Brazilianization (Brasilianisierung). According to Beck, all contemporary political thinking emanates from the methodological nationalism of political thought and sociology (and other social sciences). Risk society was coined by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens during the 1980s. According to Beck and Giddens, the traditional industrial class structure of modern society is breaking apart. Globalization creates risks that concern people from all different classes; for example, radioactivity, pollution, and even unemployment. Affluent households act to insulate themselves from these risks, but cannot do so for some; for example global environmental change. The poor suffer them. He points out that risks are also socially constructed and some risks are perceived as more dangerous because they are discussed in mass media more frequently, such as terrorism. Risk society leads to analysis of risks, causing prejudgment. Beck was the editor of the sociological journal, ' (in German, since 1980), author of some 150 articles, and author or editor of many books.


The Spinelli Group

On 15 September 2010, Beck supported the European Parliament's Spinelli Group initiative to reinvigorate federalism in the European Union. The Union of European Federalists and its youth organisation Young European Federalists have been promoting the idea of European federalism for over 60 years, with a "belief that only a European Federation, based on the idea of unity in diversity, could overcome the division of the European continent". Prominent supporters of the initiative include Jacques Delors, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Andrew Duff and Elmar Brok.


Awards

*1996 City of Munich Cultural Prize of Honour *1999 CICERO speaker price award *1999 German-British Forum Award for outstanding service to German-British relations (together with Anthony Giddens) *2004 Award of DGS for outstanding achievements in the field of public achievement in sociology *2005 Schader Prize, the most prestigious award for social scientists in Germany *2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to Future Research of the International Sociological Association *In 2013 he received an ERC advanced grant to carry out the Cosmo-Climate Research Project (Methodological Cosmopolitanism: In the Laboratory of Climate Change), with David Tyfield and Anders Blok amongst others. *Honorary doctorates (8): University of Jyväskylä, Finland (1996), University of Macerata, Italy (2006), University of Madrid (UNED), Spain (2007), Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (2010), University of Lausanne, Switzerland (2011), Free University of Varna, Bulgaria (2011), University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (2013), St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, Bulgaria (2013).Soziologe Prof. Dr. Ulrich Beck wird neuer Ehrendoktor der Katholischen Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
, Mitteilung der Katholischen Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt vom 8. November 2010; retrieved, 3 January 2015


Works

Among his major works are: * Beck, Ulrich (1974) ''Objectivity and normativity. The theory-practice debate in modern German and American sociology''. Reinbek, Rowohlt. * Beck, Ulrich with Michael Brater and Hans Jürgen (1980). ''Home: sociology of work and occupations. Basics, problem areas, research results'', Rowohlt paperback Verlag GmbH, Reinbek. * Beck, Ulrich (1986) '':de:Risikogesellschaft, Risikogesellschaft – Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne'' (''Risk Society'') * Beck, Ulrich (1988) ''Gegengifte : die organisierte Unverantwortlichkeit''. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. * Beck, Ulrich (1992) ''Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity''. London: Sage * Beck, Ulrich & Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim (1994) ''Riskante Freiheiten – Gesellschaftliche Individualisierungsprozesse in der Moderne'' * Beck, Ulrich & Giddens, Anthony & Lash Scott (1994) ''Reflexive Modernization.Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Vossenkuhl, Ziegler, photographs by T. Rautert (1995) ''Eigenes Leben – Ausflüge in die unbekannte Gesellschaft, in der wir leben'' * Beck-Gernsheim, Elisabeth & Beck, Ulrich (1995) ''The Normal Chaos of Love''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (1995) ''Ecological Politics in an Age of Risk''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (1996) ''The Reinvention of Politics.Rethinking Modernity in the Global Social Order''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (1997) ''Was ist Globalisierung?'' * Beck, Ulrich (1998) ''Democracy without Enemies''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (1998) ''World Risk Society''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (1999) ''What Is Globalization?'' Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (2000) ''The Brave New World of Work''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Adam, Barbara & Beck, Ulrich & Van Loon, Joost (2000) ''The Risk Society and Beyond: Critical Issues for Social Theory''. London: Sage. * Beck, Ulrich & Beck-Gernsheim, Elisabeth (2002) ''Individualization: Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences. London: Sage. * Beck, Ulrich & Willms, Johannes (2003) ''Conversations with Ulrich Beck''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (2005) ''Power in the Global Age''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich (2006) ''Cosmopolitan Vision''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, U., & Grande, E. (2007). ''Cosmopolitan Europe''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich. (2009). ''World at Risk''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Angelika Poferl and Ulrich Beck (eds.) (2010) ''Große Armut, großer Reichtum. Zur Transnationalisierung sozialer Ungleichheit.'' Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. * Beck, Ulrich & Grande, Edgar (2010
"Varieties of second modernity: extra-European and European experiences and perspectives"
''British Journal of Sociology'', Vol 61, Issue 3, pages 406–638. * Beck, Ulrich (2012) ''Das deutsche Europa'', Berlin * Beck, Ulrich (2013) ''German Europe''. Cambridge: Polity Press. * Beck, Ulrich and Ciaran Cronin (2014) ''Cosmopolitan Vision''. Cambridge: Polity Press.


Essays

*”World citizens of all countries, unite! Democracy beyond the nation-state: Europe must make a beginning. Theses for a cosmopolitan manifesto”. (World Citizen manifest) in. ''The Time'', 1998 No. 30 *”The Society of the Less. The burst dream of the rise in Germany”, ''ZDF'', 17 January 2005 *”Gentle world power Europe. Vision of a cosmopolitan empire that no longer relies on national ideas”, in: ''Frankfurter Rundschau'' 5 July 2005 *”Blind to reality”, in: ''Frankfurter Rundschau'', 3 September 2005 *”Europe can not be built on the ruins of the nations”, with Anthony Giddens, In: ''The World'', 1 October 2005 *”Farewell to the utopia of full employment”, in: ''Neue Zürcher Zeitung'', 4 November 2006 *”Tragic individualization”, in: ''Sheets for German and international politics'', 2007, Issue 5, pp 577-584. *”God is dangerous” in ''Die Zeit'', 2007 No. 52. *”The error of the caterpillar”, in: ''Frankfurt general newspaper'' 14 June 2011 *”Fainting, but legitimate”, in: ''the daily newspaper'' (taz) 28 October 2011 *”Machiavellis power”, in: ''Der Spiegel'', 8 October 2012 *”For a European Spring!”, in: ''the daily newspaper (taz)'', 23 November 2012


Interviews

*“Freedom or capitalism”. Ulrich Beck in an interview with Johannes Willms, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2000 *”Interview, Telepolis”, 28 November 1997 *"Choice will not save the country," interview in New Window *”An encounter” (Memento of 6 July 2007 at the Internet Archive) with Beck on Lake Starnberg, ''Der Tagesspiegel'' 23 September 2005 *"Unemployment is a victory": Interview with Constantine Sakkas, in: ''Der Tagesspiegel'' on 30 November 2006. *"Anyone can create their own God," in the Tagesspiegel of 20 July 2008 *”Questions of faith. A new enthusiasm”, talk with Arno Widmann, in: ''Frankfurter Rundschau'', 15. August 2008 *”Action in the state of not knowing”. Ulrich Beck, Risk Society theorists, on the turncoats of the financial crisis and the importance of Europe. in: ''Frankfurter Rundschau'', 5 November 2008 *”Merkel engages in the dressing up box in”: ''Süddeutsche Zeitung'', 12. February 2010 *”A strategically staged mistake”, talk with Andreas Zielcke in: ''Süddeutsche Zeitung'', 14. March 2011 *”In bed with the others”, Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim in conversation with Ulrich Gutmair, in: ''taz: Die Tageszeitung'' 12 October 2011 at *”The common identity should first be identified”, Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim in conversation with Jeanette Villa Chica, in: ''Tages-Anzeiger,'' 9 November 2011 *”Love across national borders”, Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim, in: ''Time Campus'' 22 November 2011 *”About the Merkiavellismus”, talk with Nils Minkmar, in: ''Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung'', 16 January 2013 *”More Willy Brandt dare Ulrich Beck and Martin Schulz on the future of Europe”, in: ''Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung'', 24 May 2013


Literature on Beck

*Richard Albrecht, ''Differentiation - pluralization - individualization: make-up process in the German society'', in: ''Trade union Monatshefte'', Vol 41 (1990), No. 8, S.503-512 (PDF, 137 kB) *Klaus Dörre. ''Reflexive modernization - a transition theory''. *''For analytical potential of a popular sociological time diagnosis'', Ruhr-University Bochum, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, mediocrity and madness. A proposal to goodness, trans, mediocrity and madness.. Collected distractions, SuhrkampFrankfurt am Main 1988, pp 250-276 *Monika E. Fischer: ''Space and time. The forms of adult learning of modernization theory point of view'', publishing Schneider Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2007 *Ronald Hitzler: Ulrich Beck, in: ''Current theories of sociology. Shmuel N. Eisenstadt to Postmodernism'', Dirk Kaesler, CH Beck editors, Munich, 2005, pp 267-285, *Karl Otto Hondrich. ''The dialectic of collectivization and individualization - the example of couple relationships'', in: ''From Politics and History'', H. 53, 1998 [25 December 1998], pp 3-8 *Thomas Kron (ed.): ''Individualization and sociological theory, Leske + Budrich'', Opladen 2000 *Angelika Poferl: Ulrich Beck, in: Stephan Moebius / Dirk Quad Fly ( ed.): ''Culture. Theories of the present, VS Verlag für Social Sciences'', Wiesbaden 2006, *Angelika Poferl / Natan Sznaider (ed.): ''Ulrich Beck's cosmopolitan project. On the way to another sociology'', Nomos, Baden-Baden 2004 *Armin Pongs: ''Ulrich Beck - The Risk Society, trans .: What kind of society are we living in?'' [1999] dilemma Verlag, Munich 2007, pp 47-66 *Gisela Riescher: ''Political Theory in the presence of individual representations of Adorno Young'', Kröner, Stuttgart 2004, pp 43–46, *Volker Stork: The "second modernity" - a brand? To Antiquiertheit and negativity of social utopia of Ulrich Beck, UVK Verl.-Ges., Konstanz 2001,


See also

*Global governance


References


External links


Professor Ulrich Beck
– his staff page at the London School of Economics, LSE
Homepage of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Beck

Ideas radio show, discusses Ulrich's concepts of risk in science and societyNew media artwork inspired by Ulrich Beck's work, created by eco-art collaborative EcoArtTechInterview with Ulrich Beck: “Nationalism does not leave much room for the recognition of others”
Barcelona Metropolis, 2009.
Europe’s Times and Unknown Waters, Cluj-Napoca, Marga, Andrei (April 2009). "The society of risk? Ulrich Beck, Risikogesellshaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne"Interview with Ulrich Beck: "Germany has created an accidental empire"
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
, 2013. {{DEFAULTSORT:Beck, Ulrich 1944 births 2015 deaths Academics of the London School of Economics Environmental sociologists Family sociologists German sociologists Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich alumni Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich faculty People from Słupsk People from the Province of Pomerania Studienstiftung alumni University of Münster faculty Writers about globalization German male writers Modernity