Chapter 4. Systems Theory and Risk

  1. Jens O. Zinn Senior Research Fellow
  1. Klaus P. Japp Professor visiting scholar and
  2. Isabel Kusche PhD

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444301489.ch4

Social Theories of Risk and Uncertainty: An Introduction

Social Theories of Risk and Uncertainty: An Introduction

How to Cite

Japp, K. P. and Kusche, I. (2008) Systems Theory and Risk, in Social Theories of Risk and Uncertainty: An Introduction (ed J. O. Zinn), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444301489.ch4

Editor Information

  1. University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Author Information

  1. Bielefeld University, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 15 FEB 2008

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405153355

Online ISBN: 9781444301489



  • systems theory and risk;
  • way systems theory deals with topic of risk - deriving from general assumptions about structure and processes of modern society;
  • modernity, decision making, and risk;
  • code and second-order observation;
  • the time dimension - modernity;
  • the material dimension - risk and danger;
  • the social dimension - conflicts;
  • Luhmannian strand of systems theory - sees different modes of observation and latent or manifest conflicts;
  • beyond classical topics of risk research


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Modernity, Decision Making, and Risk

  • The Time Dimension: Modernity

  • The Material Dimension: Risk and Danger

  • The Social Dimension: Conflicts

  • Beyond Classical Topics of Risk Research

  • Conclusion

  • Further Reading