Risk Society (BYS100)

The course provides an introduction to key concepts and theories within the fields of societal safety, and risk management, especially related to green transition and sustainability. The course focuses on how psychological, social, institutional and cultural factors influence perceived risk and responses both at an individual and a societal level. Emphasis is placed on understanding societal safety and risk management challenges related to risks climate change, urbanization, digitalization, , pandemics, terrorism

Course description for study year 2023-2024


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Semester tution start


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Central concepts:

Risk, societal safety, uncertainty, risk perception, social risk amplification / attenuation, riskanalysis, trust, vulnerability, the risk society, risk communication, risk management, security, safety, tipping points, UN sustainability goals, transformation, globalization, digitalization

Some topics that will be covered:

Contexts that form the basis for statements such as that the "risk society" has replaced the "industrial


How the effects of modern risks and threats can cross borders between states, geographical areas, and cultures to a greater extent than before, and the consequences of these.

The difference between experts' and lay people's assessment of different types of risks

What factors affect how individuals perceive risk and how different actors' communication affects our perception of and responses to


The importance of trust in societal safety and risk management

Different types of risks and implications for the work with risk analysis and management

Learning outcome

After completing the course, students are expected to know and understand:

Key concepts and theories and in societal safety and risk management

How globalization, urbanization, technological and socio-cultural changes affect risk and safety in society and our

understanding of hazards and threats

How risk is influenced, shaped and reshaped in a dynamic interplay between science, government, institutions, media

and lay people

How experts and lay people understand and assess different types of risk

Account for the ways in which psychological, social, institutional and cultural factors influence perceived risk and


Explain different ways of understanding and analyzing risk

Be able to discuss key challenges in working with systemic risks

Have knowledge about international climate agreements and regulations as well as discuss dilemmas and challenges related to green transition and sustainability

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 5 Hours Letter grades

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Lisbet Fjæran

Head of Department:

Tore Markeset

Method of work

Lectures, group work, discussions, presentations

Open for

Urban Planning and Societal Safety - Bachelor`s Degree Programme Sociology - Bachelor's Degree Programme

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto