І. О. Радіонова


Стаття присвячена аналізу спроби соціально-політичного переосмислення глобальних кліматичних змін у теорії метаморфозісу У. Бека. Доводиться значення теорії метаморфозісу щодо з’ясування взаємозалежності людини, суспільства, природи в умовах глобалізації і відповідним змінам у сфері політики. Наголошується, що тільки з позиції соціально-політичного аналізу кліматичних змін можна визначити нормативний горизонт кліматичної справедливості для глобального світу, побачити загрози кліматичного колоніалізму.

Ключові слова: Бек У., кліматична справедливість, кліматичний колоніалізм, соціально-політичне переосмислення кліматичних змін, теорія метаморфозісу.


Статья посвящена анализу попытки социально-политического переосмысления климатических изменений в теории метаморфозиса У. Бека. Доказывается значение теории метаморфозиса для выяснения взаимозависимости человека, общества, природы в условиях глобализации и соответствующим изменениям в сфере политики. Подчеркивается, что только с позиции социально-политического анализа климатических изменений можно определить нормативный горизонт климатической справедливости для глобального мира, увидеть угрозы климатического колониализма.

Ключевые слова: Бек У., климатическая справедливость, климатический колониализм, социально-политическое переосмысление климатических изменений, теория метаморфозиса.


The article analyses the attempt of socio-political rethinking of global climate change within Ulrich Beck’s theory of the metamorphosis. Socio-political analysis of climate change requires clarification of its methodological foundations. This article states that at the beginning of the new millennium, the social sciences have come to a point of a deep methodology crisis. Without a new methodology, the social sciences would have to declare bankruptcy in the face of the tumult of the environment which surrounds us, where what was unthinkable yesterday is real and possible today. In this critical situation, Beck sets himself the ambitious task of developing a fundamentally new methodological basis for the analysis of the modern world - the theory of the metamorphosis of the world.

It is emphasized that the concept of the metamorphosis is a landmark change in the focus of our attention and our worldview. It destabilizes all the definitions of modernity. Beck calls our attention to unintentional events and processes that go largely unnoticed, mostly outside the domains of politics and democracy, as side effects of radical technical and economic modernization. They are triggers for a fundamental shock that undermines the anthropological constants of our existence in the world and our understanding of the world. The distinction between nature and society has ceased to exist.

The article notes that Beck explained the significant difference between the theoretical foundations of the theory of world risk society and the new theory of the metamorphosis of the world. Where the theory of world risk society had analysed the negative side effects of the good, the new theory focuses on the positive side effects of the bad, which do not, however, automatically create a better world. Beck is constantly focusing his attention on the lack of predetermined course of events: the metamorphosis is a process that has no end. It is an open, irreversible and highly ambivalent process.

Stubbornly refusing the temptation to create a new horrific scenario of climate apocalypse, Beck proposes his own analytical approach of seeking to answer the question of how climate change affects society and politics. It is necessary to set free our political and social imagination, which now faces the daunting task of encompassing the interaction and interdependence of the human, society and nature in the conditions of globalization, and the corresponding changes in the political sphere.

In terms of socio-political analysis, we are faced with situations of lack of understanding, because climate change can have different and possibly opposing impacts on people’s lives even within a single region, let alone between geographically remote ones. Someone wins and someone loses in different ways (including ways as yet unknown today). Accordingly, a complex multilevel model of the metamorphosis of the world emerges, which takes into account the interaction of local, regional, national and global conditions which create specific structures as a consequence of social inequalities and power relations. In order to face the challenges and risks of climate change, global society needs a large-scale, cosmopolitan, planetary-level POLITICS in the face of powerlessness of the national-international politics.

The open nature of the future gives reason to speak of the particular importance of political decisions taken in response to climate threats. Choosing cooperation between countries with different levels of development, we must distinguish between the theory of dependency and the theory of cosmopolitanisation in the context of socio-political rethinking of climate change. Indeed, both theories describe global forms of historical transcontinental inequalities and asymmetric power relations. However, cosmopolitanisation forms the normative horizon of equality and justice, including climate justice. Obviously, the new horizon does not automatically reduce the asymmetry in relations between countries (Beck emphasizes that global inequality may even increase), but it would lead to the implementation of global norms of equality. It is when we consider climate catastrophes in the context of justice that the question arises of whether existing patterns of inequality and vulnerability are fair and we leave the discourse of “how to manage our risks” behind. It is when we focus on the mechanisms of creation and dissemination of the negative effects that we will see the movements which are typically invisible to everyday perception. Our scientific perspective will combine what is nationally and geographically divided, becoming "the cosmopolitan perspective".

Moving from theoretical to practical, Beck acknowledges that in the (in)human conditions of existence in the early 21st century, the imperialist interconnectedness of radically unequal worlds still dominates. The reality and prospects of the metamorphosis make possible the emergence of a new imperialist order and ‘climate colonialism’ against the background of the continued existence of colonial patterns. There is a fundamental distinction between decision makers and risk generators, and those who suffer from these decisions and risks. However, according to Beck, we can only see this imperialist structure if we change the optics of the nation-state to a cosmopolitan perspective in the socio-political rethinking of climate change in relation to the climate justice horizon for those already living in the global world and for those who are yet to be born into it. The main change Beck proposes is to see in people and communities not the victims of the effects of climate change, but citizens whose rights must be protected.

We conclude that Beck’s theoretical explorations and conclusions on socio-political understanding of climate change are of utmost importance for Ukraine, where rethinking climate change has not yet become a first-order issue on the socio-political agenda. Any country’s lack of attention to the major issue of climate change can be abused. Global climate risks threaten, according to Beck, both the lives of individual citizens and the sovereignty of nation states.

Key words: Beck U., climate justice, climate colonialism, socio-political rethinking of climate change, the theory of the metamorphosis.

Повний текст:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.34142/24130060.2019.19.2.11


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