Contemporary law and government are increasingly characterized by a focus on risk. Fields such as health, psychiatry, criminal justice, vehicle safety, urban design and environmental governance all provide examples of settings in which problems are dealt with as risks. While risk has become more prominent, there have also been changes in the nature of risk techniques deployed. Whereas welfare states provided many services through socialized risk - such as social insurances covering health, employment and old age - increasing emphasis is now placed on individual risk management arrangements such as private insurance. In this environment, the positive side of risk has also been made more salient. Enterprise, innovation and risk-taking have become qualities valued, or even required, of current governance. In this volume, the most influential examinations and interpretations of this major trend have been brought together, in order to make clear the range and diversity, the spread and penetration of risk in contemporary societies.