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Risk has become one of the defining features of modern society. Almost daily, we are preoccupied with assessing, discussing, or preventing a wide variety of risks. It is a cornerstone notion for businesses and organizations, but also for nation states and their many levels of government. And even for individuals, risk and the avoidance or embracing thereof, is a key theme.
The course Risk in Modern Society sheds light on the broad concept of risk. In five distinctive weeks, this course closely examines various types of safety and security risks, and how these are perceived and dealt with in a wide array of professional and academic fields, ranging from criminology, counter-terrorism and cyber security, to philosophy, safety and medical science. Developed in collaboration with scholars from three universities (Leiden, Delft and Erasmus), this course will search for answers to questions such as: “what is risk?”, “how do we study and deal with risk?”, “does ‘perceived risk’ correspond to 'real' risk?”, and “how should we deal with societal perceptions of risk, safety and security?
Welcome & Risk in Modern Society
In this module, you can find all the information you need in order to be able to successfully complete the course. After you have familiarised yourself with the course, we will move to the content of the first module. In the first week, we will discuss how the concept of risk has played an increasingly important role in shaping our modern society. Tracing the historical origins of this concept, we will look at how our modern conception of risk has emerged, and how it is currently being studied within the academic world.
In this module, we will take a closer look at risk management, one of the most dominant approaches to dealing with risk in modern society. You will then be presented with two specific risks which illustrate how this approach is used in practice: the risk of natural hazards, and risks in the chemical industry. In the last video of this week, we will discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of the risk management approach.
In this module, we will take a closer look at risk perception and the factors that influence how we experience risk in modern society. You will learn that while experts often rely on various statistical and mathematical models to asses various types of risks, the general public tends to make more intuitive judgments about the severity and likelihood of risk. You will then be presented with two specific security risks, which often invoke a great perception of danger.
Modern-day Risks: Global Challenges
In this module, you will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of modern-day risks by looking at three key contemporary global challenges involving risk. Throughout the week, each of these risks will be discussed by various experts, who will highlight the most important features and strategies to deal with them. You will learn how, both collectively and individually, each these challenges have the ability to significantly impact the globe, presenting a notable challenge for current and future generations.
Risk in Modern Society
In this final module, you will be presented with a recap of all the knowledge from the previous weeks. In addition, it contains the final multiple choice quiz of the course. Good luck!
Pieter van Gelder, Margreet Vos, Bibi van den Berg, Sabine Roeser, Edwin Bakker, Genserik Reniers, Marieke Liem and Jim van Steenbergen