Pol Theory of Late Modernity
In this course we will address the political theory of our contemporary "late-modern" era. We will begin by reading selections from Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger on technology, danger, and political action. Then we will turn to an analysis of what some thinkers have labeled our current "risk society," focusing on the cultural anthropologist Mary Douglas, the sociologists Ullrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, and the political scientist Aaron Wildavsky. Questions we will address include the current preoccupations with global disaster, the politics of risk assessment and analysis, its effect on national and military decision-making, the rise of the insurance industry, and the background assumptions that guide our understanding of action in the world. 3 hrs. sem.