SO4C9      Half Unit
Risk Governance

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Nils Peters


This course is available on the MSc in Economy and Society, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Finance and Risk and MSc in Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). Places are allocated based on a written statement, with priority given to students on the MSc in Economy and Society, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Regulation and MSc in Risk and Finance. This may mean that not all students who apply will be able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course introduces students to sociological perspectives on economic and societal risks. Topics include the social theory of risk and uncertainty, and markets as risk-governing actors, scientific expertise and knowledge production, and transnational and systemic risks. The course will draw upon a broad international literature in economic sociology and the sociology of risk, as well as case studies from the environmental, financial, and public health domains.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across WT.

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in WT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Indicative reading

  • Aspers, P & Dodd, N (eds) (2015) Re-Imagining Economic Sociology (Oxford University Press);
  • Beck, U. (1999) World Risk Society (Cambridge: Polity);
  • Baker, T & Simon, J (eds) (2002) Embracing Risk: The Changing Culture of Insurance and Responsibility (University of Chicago Press);
  • Bernstein, P L (1996) Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (Princeton University Press);
  • Hutter, B.M. (ed) (2010) Anticipating Risks and Organizing Risk Regulation, Cambridge University Press;
  • Smesler, N. & Swedberg, R. (eds) (2005) The Handbook of Economic Sociology;
  • Bulkeley, H (2014) Transnational Climate Governance (Cambridge University Press);
  • Klinenberg, E (2002) Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chicago Press);
  • Ericson, RV, Doyle, A & Barry, D (2003) Insurance as Governance (University of Toronto Press);
  • Hacker, J & O’Leary, A (eds) (2012) Shared Responsibility, Shared Risk: Government, Markets and Social Policy in the Twenty-First Century (Oxford University Press);
  • Krippner, G (2011) Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance (Harvard University Press);
  • Beckert, J. (2016) Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics (Harvard University Press);
  • MacKenzie, D. (2006) An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (MIT Press). 


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the WT.

Attendance at all seminars and submission of all set coursework is required.

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2023/24: Unavailable

Average class size 2023/24: Unavailable

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills