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An Age of RiskPolitics and Economy in Early Modern Britain$
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Emily C. Nacol

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691165103

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691165103.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter One Introduction
An Age of Risk

Emily C. Nacol

Princeton University Press

This chapter briefly discusses three insights into early modern British engagement with risk: the presence of a distinct conceptual refinement in late seventeenth-century sources; the tight relationship between risk and trust in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century political thought and political economy; and the character of the political subject, which is worked out in the early modern engagement with risk. Beyond these three observations, the chapter also argues that early modern British engagement with risk offers two narratives—views of risk that persist in our own time and shape our orientation toward an unknown future. These include accounts of risk as a threat to security, as well as depictions of risk as an opportunity to be exploited for profit or gain.

Keywords:   risk, seventeenth century, eighteenth century, political thought, political economy, political subject, early modern period, unknown future

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