Сonfidence in Knowledge in a Global Risk Society


The article discusses the challenges of trust to scientific knowledge which emerged in the qualitatively new nonlinear social realities that accompany global risks. The author analyzes the social and cultural origins of trust, its development in the context of complex risks, which are studied through formal-logical, subject-psychological and cultural approaches. We consider challengers to the trust in knowledge of risks that emerge in the realities of risk society. The lack of trust is explained by the dysfunctions and vulnerabilities of theoretical monism. The author focuses in particular on the effects of the transition from risk society to global risk society in which staging global risks are becoming a new norm. The article uses the framework developed by the German sociologist Ulrich Beck to identify new approaches to risk and its perception. U. Beck sees the answer to the emerging challenges to the credibility of scientific knowledge in the cosmopolitan methodology which is institutionalized in a “new critical theory”, which gives rather valid interpretations of the nature of new risks. The article demonstrates the potential of the new theoretical and methodological instruments involving integration of social and natural sciences, to analyze the emerging risk realities. The author provides his perspective on the widening of the interdisciplinary approach by including in it the theoretical developments of humanities. This will initiate a shift towards the formation of the complex trust including all types of knowledge which would provide more beneficial opportunities for adequate risk perception than the initial models introduced by U. Beck.


trust; risks; global risks; scientific knowledge; risk perception; reflexive modernity; interdisciplinarity

Authors: Sergey Kravchenko

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