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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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An Age of Risk, a Liberalism of Anxiety

An Age of Risk, a Liberalism of Anxiety

(p.124) Chapter Six An Age of Risk, a Liberalism of Anxiety
An Age of Risk

Emily C. Nacol

Princeton University Press

This chapter returns to the lessons of the eighteenth century in discussing risk, in particular exploring the role of liberalism in early modern Britain's preoccupation with risk. Preoccupation with uncertainty, a view of risk as hazard, and profound feelings of insecurity marked eighteenth-century efforts to understand the present and imagine the future. While this perspective, which frequently elides the difference between risk and loss, would go on to find firmer footing in the nineteenth century, it gained a toehold in the eighteenth century, as shown by work on probability, risk, and political economy. The chapter also argues that the in this study who accept uncertainty are also the ones who are able to embrace and develop a notion of risk as central to politics and political economy.

Keywords:   risk, eighteenth century, nineteenth century, Michel Foucault, uncertainty, early modern Britain, liberalism, political economy

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