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Governing climate change: the politics of risk society?

Bulkeley, H.



This paper examines how the politics of climate change have taken shape within Australia through the construction and contestation of concepts of obligation and responsibility. Beck's risk society thesis offers a conceptual starting point from which to address questions concerning the nature of contemporary risk politics, and the paper examines its relevance and applicability in this case. While Beck's theory provides insight into the nature of risk and directs attention to the ways in which notions of obligation and responsibility structure risk politics, it fails to engage with why, and how, particular definitions of risk and responsibility come to dominate the political arena. It is argued that in Australia the novel challenges climate change poses to the institutions of modernity have been negated through ensuing policy responses which have reinforced links between industry and government, and have defined climate responsibilities within existing relations of production and the spatio-temporal frameworks of modernity.


Bulkeley, H. (2001). Governing climate change: the politics of risk society?. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 26(4), 430-447.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2001-12
Deposit Date Nov 7, 2006
Journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Print ISSN 0020-2754
Electronic ISSN 1475-5661
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 4
Pages 430-447
Keywords Risk politics, Obligation, Responsibility, Industry, Government, Australia.