The chapter analyses how and to what extent uncertainty is part of the toolbox of contemporary social sciences and becomes part of the discourses people use to make sense of their social experience in their specific socio-historical contexts. After analysing how Western modernity was constituted and strengthened by creating and transferring uncertainty to the outside – in the colonized countries – the chapter presents how, in the second modernity, uncertainty is continually produced and becomes a constitutive element of the ‘risk society’. Uncertainty takes on different meanings based on the theoretical perspective with which it is analysed. The neoliberal approach positively considers uncertainty as a necessary stimulus for enterprise and the development of the agency. A more critical approach considers uncertainty as a central element of contemporary forms of discipline and control. The chapter suggests that recognizing the semantic complexity today linked to the concept of uncertainty means considering uncertainty as an aspect of the inevitable contingency that constitutes the framework for human action; not as something to ‘eliminate’ or ‘keep under control’, but rather as an aspect of the relationship that human beings have with their experience and their contexts of action.

Uncertainty / E. Colombo - In: Framing Social Theory : Reassembling the Lexicon of Contemporary Social Sciences / [a cura di] P. Rebughini, E. Colombo. - London : Routledge, 2022. - ISBN 9781003203308. - pp. 139-159 [10.4324/9781003203308-10]

Uncertainty

E. Colombo
2022

Abstract

The chapter analyses how and to what extent uncertainty is part of the toolbox of contemporary social sciences and becomes part of the discourses people use to make sense of their social experience in their specific socio-historical contexts. After analysing how Western modernity was constituted and strengthened by creating and transferring uncertainty to the outside – in the colonized countries – the chapter presents how, in the second modernity, uncertainty is continually produced and becomes a constitutive element of the ‘risk society’. Uncertainty takes on different meanings based on the theoretical perspective with which it is analysed. The neoliberal approach positively considers uncertainty as a necessary stimulus for enterprise and the development of the agency. A more critical approach considers uncertainty as a central element of contemporary forms of discipline and control. The chapter suggests that recognizing the semantic complexity today linked to the concept of uncertainty means considering uncertainty as an aspect of the inevitable contingency that constitutes the framework for human action; not as something to ‘eliminate’ or ‘keep under control’, but rather as an aspect of the relationship that human beings have with their experience and their contexts of action.
Social theory; Uncertainty
Settore SPS/08 - Sociologia dei Processi Culturali e Comunicativi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/937887
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