Vol. 44 No. 1 (2024): Topographies of Risk. Theoretical Approaches

The end of acceptable risk and the crisis of the modern social imaginary

Natasha Cola
University of Genova

Published 2024-06-12


  • risk calculation,
  • globalization,
  • uncertainty,
  • social imaginary crisis,
  • polycentric planetary governance

How to Cite

The end of acceptable risk and the crisis of the modern social imaginary. (2024). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 44(1). https://doi.org/10.4454/st43gc72


Pandemics and climate change highlight the 'catastrophic nature' of homo sapiens and the need to acknowledge the vulnerability of species. What emerges, on an ethical level, is the need to affirm a principle of co-responsibility that, in everyday life, as on a global level, refers to the recursive ring of care that connects care for oneself, for others (including animals), and for what surrounds us (including institutions). This requires a new paradigm based on a systemic approach to the different dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social, economic) and the design of a new global political order. As was the case in the early days of modernity, it is from the economy that we can draw indications for a multistakeholder approach that enhances forms of participatory democracy at the local level and the creation of a polycentric system of governance at the global level. We must, however, be aware that this perspective will be able to assert itself and form the backdrop for a response to global risks if convergence on some common values constituting a planetary ethic is generated. We should, therefore, reconsider the social imaginary inherited from modernity in the light of a reality that is much more complex, interconnected and characterised by economic, political and social conflicts quite different from those that characterised Western modernit