Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Risk, anxiety and the European mediation of the politics of life

Chalmers, Damian (2005) Risk, anxiety and the European mediation of the politics of life. European Law Review, 30 (5). pp. 649-674. ISSN 0307-5400

Full text not available from this repository.


Most EU law is concerned with the government of risk. This poses challenges for traditional ethical yardsticks, which base the unethical nature of the act in the perpetrator's knowing that certain consequences will flow from her actions. With risk it is impossible, however, to know what consequences will follow from an action. Drawing upon a case study from the regulation of genetically modified food, this essay suggests an additional ethic, that of mediation, for EU law. Government of risk involves two forms of politics. One is the politics of hazard, which embraces uncertainty in order to realise new public goods. The other is the politics of anxiety, which rejects uncertainty to protect the vulnerability, status and singularity of the individual subject. Ineluctably opposed to one another, each politics has virtues and pathologies. A government of risk must contain both and mediate between both. Much angst with EU law, it will be suggested, derives from its paying insufficient attention to the terms of this mediation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 Sweet & Maxwell
Divisions: Law
European Institute
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2008
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2021 00:10

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item