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Canada and Globalization III

Security: The backlash that McDonald’s has engendered as a result of its status as an icon of globalization speaks to Beck’s thesis concerning risk cultures. Beck argues that risk is fundamentally a socio-cultural phenomenon, inasmuch as different individuals have differing degrees of ability to define it (496). Moreover, Beck argues, theories of risk provide etiologies of risk, complete with prescriptions for how risk can be minimized and managed. For a global theory of risk, the etiology of the risk is precisely that, global and essentially omnipresent as opposed to particular and local (496). Moreover, the consequences of the risks are generally portrayed as incalculable, and a key idea is that the risk is also non-compensatory: thus, if the risk becomes reality, the consequences will be very dire and it will be essentially impossible to make up for them (496-497). From this socio-cultural perspective on risk Beck elaborates the concept of risk cultures, i.e. cultural ideas about what constitute the most significant risks facing global society (498).