Social Risk as Factor for Developing Society in Context of Citizens’ Welfare


The paper addresses the issues of social risks in the context of the creation of well-being. We analyzed the role of social risks in the society-individual system. The process of creation and development of well-being is shown to depend on the nature and social risks and measures taken to prevent these risks. The knowledge about social risks, the patterns of development of society and an individual is equally important. The formation of abilities and skills of optimal interaction with the social environment is of current relevance. Optimal interaction suggests that an individual is able to identify the purpose of his or her activities based on the gained knowledge and in the strict compliance with the laws and conditions of society. The development of the risk-reflection culture is a critical factor in the formation of the modern welfare space. We state that risk prevention must be the result of causal forecasting the variants for process continuation, involving positive factors, and, minimizing the impact of previous stages.

Keywords: Goodinformationriskrisk-reflectionsocial actionsocial educationsocial environmentsocietywelfare


Modern society poses the problem of human well-being, the development of relations between people, and relationship between people and society as a major social problem. The correct formation of ecocentric values aimed at harmonious development of an individual and society in which the former is not opposed to the environment, is equally important. These values constitute the basis for a social welfare model. One of the objectives is to analyze the ecocentric consciousness and the basic directions of its further development (Roeser, & Asveld, L., 2012).

More attention is paid to social risks. As a result, the consideration of the social space of welfare formation as a system, the analysis of the elements within this system and interrelations between these elements as well as their interdependent functioning is considered to be important.


We used an activity approach to analyze the social space of the formation of welfare as a space of organized human activity to remove social risks in the process of creating social good:structural-functional, systematic and comprehensive approaches were used as supplementary methods (Kvesko et al., 2005).

Social Risk as a Factor of the Development of Modern Society

Modern society is to some extent a risk society, which is often looked at as a society of catastrophes. However, we associate the concept of catastrophe with abnormalities of social life, and disintegration of morality and public order. Therefore, the concept of social risk is more acceptable. Social risk implies potential danger and real threat to the social environment and human activities, which cannot be ignored. The concept of risk is broader in its meaning than the concept of danger. It includes not only losses or negative results, but also the possibility of successful outcomes in case of deviation from the target. The concept of social risk is not confined to the possibility of negative consequences, but it also includes the probability of positive outcomes. However, in any case, social risk involves the sense of insecurity of the future; it implies an element of uncertainty.

Society faces social risks due to the competitive nature of economic, political and social spheres. Social risks of social, natural and technogenic origin generated by the current level of civilization are sociogenic in nature (Vasendina et al., 2016). Undermined foundations of the market economy, crash of traditional social structures and barriers, lack of trust in science depend on expert knowledge resulting in unpredictable side effects (Beck, 1992). These factors lead to an anthropological shock, which changes the concept of the relationship between the environment and an individual in objective reality.

However, according to U. Beck, the main condition for the formation of the world risk society is the change of the positive logic of social development to a negative one (Beck, 1992). The ideal of the society normative regulations is based on positive values such as social well-being. The ideal of the society normative regulations in risk society implies security that results in a social project of negative and protective character. This society is focused not on achieving the best public relations (Fahlquist, & Roeser, 2015), but it strives to provide protection and to avoid the worst. This changes the orientation towards the needs as a well-being foundation, and focuses on self-restriction of these needs (Makasheva et al., 2016). One of the most important conditions for this shift of values is transformation of the social environment and human life-support systems under conditions of life destruction. This transition from positive logic to negative one characterizes the shift of emphasis to values of economic success.

The factors treated as prerequisites of social risk society are as follows:

1) the ideology focused on total domination of an individual over the world;

2) blurred boundaries between normality and pathology;

3) de-modernization (orientation not to social development and wealth accumulation but resource spending);

4) dependence of science and its westernization (i.e. orientation to western norms, values, attitudes and, in particular, sponsor-dependent choice of the subject for scientific research);

5) lack of professional culture; 6) continuous analysis of price actions (hereinafter, risk-reflection); social apathy.

Social risks affect many spheres of public life: a system of values (this effect is evident in the transition from positive to negative values of social progress); forms and an extent of collective social action (for example, global risks).

Risks are classified as follows:

1) cologania risks (generated by activities of society, its development and decay, transition to a qualitatively new state);

2) geopolitical risks (generated by the ideology of a totalitarian regime);

3) environmental risks (caused by the impact of natural environment);

4) ideological risks (primacy of ideology over culture, and that of the system over an individual).

According to the study reported in (Mol, A.P.J., 1995), an individual is afraid to think about the future and focuses on today to achieve instant success and immediate and short-term benefits. People get used to everyday risks and are accustomed to think amid the crisis, but they do not become thoughtful about the means to eliminate these risks. In this context, it becomes relevant to implement the principle of restoration of greater continuity in individual and collective activities that could be adapted to different situations and to provide people with adequate facilities and conditions for their activities (Ardashkin, & Bykov, 2016).

In this context, the concept of risk-reflection is to be taken into account when considering the concept of risk society. It can be defined as a "change in the nature of human perception of the conditions of his or her existence and, consequently, the stimuli for social change to reconsider the forms of social action and political organization of society" (Ardashkin, 2016).

We also add a personal dimension of understanding. In terms of modern methodology, the concept of reflection includes "reconstruction and current manifestations, identification of the causes of difficulties in actions, changed mode of actions taking into account the nature of the causes of these difficulties" (Gorp, & Grunwald, 2012).

Risk-reflection involves identifying the causes and mechanisms of social risk, its development and manifestations, the ways to predict risk situations in society and risk elimination. In addition, the analysis should be performed to find the ways to correct and reorient the content of actions based on identified causes of the difficulties, their nature, scope and the ability of their development and interaction with other elements of the social environment.

Awareness of the ultimate bases of relations between society and an individual helps eliminate the existing social risks and prevent potential ones. Social risk can be an important factor in well-being formation and development since it aims to re-evaluate the values of classical rationalism. Everyday risks change human perception of the totality of his or her existence. This reassessment is expected to provide a strategy and tactics of social welfare development, a system of values aimed at achieving both collective and personal social good.

Risk-reflection involves not only risk assessment but an active social action to eliminate negative effects. This concept can be seen in terms of the activity approach. On the one hand, an individual is not able to perceive the social situation and threatening danger, and on the other hand, no decision made to prevent risks leads to worsened relations and interactions, which results in crisis and catastrophe. Risk-reflection expands the consciousness that allows adequately responding to social risks to take proper prevention decisions.

Sustainable development of society ensures the development of social values and increases citizens' welfare in the interests of future generations (Grunwald, 2012). The research is to be conducted to find the basic laws of optimization of interaction between society and an individual, which would become the laws of self-regulation of the society-individual system. Transition towards sustainable development requires the development and implementation of the strategy that includes the issues concerning poverty, overpopulation and etc. The social essence of the doctrine implies redistribution of power, wealth and human resources in order to equalize the levels of development in different regions of the world. It demonstrates a new, higher level of regulation of social, economic and technological patterns.

Sustainable social development is limited to social, economic and technological aspects. The problem of adoption of the principles of sustainable social development and formation of citizens' welfare, implementation of these principles in individual activities has not been completely solved. Therefore, emphasis should be placed on ideological values. Internally motivated human activity is more effective than strict adherence to legal, technological and other recommendations.

Human activity in the formation of well-being and positive social environment should be not only internally motivated, but proactive. An individual is able not only to learn, but to be active (Fahlquist, 2015). An individual is a creative personality. Not only does he skillfully constructs the picture of the world, but efficiently transforms this world.

Social consciousness is to be used as a tool to stimulate motivation for social activity, the ability to make decisions and assess the willingness to act independently and consciously. An individual should take into account not only one’s own needs, but also the laws of social development.

Successful management of current social risks includes the culture of cooperation and partnership in decision-making and a high level of population concern. Integration of modern society requires a certain level of development of civil society institutions. One of the key points is self-regulation and integration of an individual and society, and integration of culture, science and education.

Social education is supposed to play an important role in social risk management. On the one hand, it is social risk and security education. On the other hand, it implies increased professionalism of people working in the field of social risk and security management. Within a general framework of the risk-reflection culture, this stimulates the development of science and culture.

Another condition for social risk management is the focus on anthropocentric values of classical rationalism, on establishment of science as an instrument of legitimation of risky decisions. A high level of social acceptability of the risk combined with an extremely low level of social reflection is a characteristic phenomenon of our time. At the same time, risk-reflection oriented towards ecocentric values perceives the risk as socially unacceptable, as something that must be overcome.

Another important aspect within the framework of the scale of today's risks is the relevance of theoretical study and evaluation of these risks. There is a growing need for professionals and managers able to provide and implement drastic measures to prevent social catastrophes both theoretically and practically.

Role playing and socio-psychological training lay the basis of modern social educational space. Globalization, the emergence of global social problems and their relationship with global challenges of our time cause a need in more complete and up-to-date representation related to reality. Accurate tracking rapidly changing conditions in the individual-society-nature system and the scientific knowledge of this system are important conditions for existence of risk science.


Thus, the basic concept of modern education should be the study of social risks and their prevention. The major causes of risks were identified as follows: ecocentric principles; deviation from anthropocentrism; the importance of the pragmatic and axiological component of thinking; an interdisciplinary status; a combination of analytical and practical levels; the paramount importance of the principle of adequate reality; accurate tracking of rapidly changing conditions in the individual–society – nature system; scientific knowledge of this system.

In our opinion, generalization is to be concerned with reconstruction of the action as a whole, its positive and negative effects, and its causes. As a consequence, generalization and analysis of the situation proper is considered to be important. To consolidate positive achievements, risk prevention must be the result of causal forecasting the variants for process continuation, on the one hand, involving positive factors, and, on the other hand, minimizing the impact of previous stages.


Based on the research it can be concluded that the results of social action may be as follows: achievement or non-achievement of goals, cooperation with other decision-makers, social actors and institutions.

The solution depends on the quality of information support, correctly specified strategy and tactics to perform communication with officials, mass media and public, on the experience required for human resource activities. The situation becomes more complicated upon performing long-term actions, which have no immediate results. A key aspect of ideology formation and functioning is the risk-reflection analysis. It focuses on emergence and spread of social risks, their impact on public consciousness and control and management techniques.

The source and a motivating factor of risk-reflection development is, on the one hand, the use of concepts, categories and knowledge of the social environment (Shashev et al., 2015). On the other hand, these are ecocentric beliefs, ideals, values, norms and strategies. Ideology, in turn, includes goals, values and motivation of actors involved in social action.

In this regard, an important component of complex social values is risk-reflection. It is necessary to deepen the understanding of social risk, to disclose the causes of the reoriented emotional and volitional risk experiences in a constructive way, to impact the development of human creative thinking.

Value orientations of the actors contribute to the formation of the worldview to interpret social risks. The motives of the actors may vary depending on the type of activity (information and illustrative, practical and transformative, and communicative actions); these may vary from particular case to the whole (on value system level and etc.) and dominate in the background (e.g., creative motivation).

A structural-dynamic model of social actions of an individual and society is constructed based on the analysis of key elements. Risk-reflections, which combine reconstruction, criticism and formation of the scope of human activities and social structure, are synthetic application of these concepts.


Acknowledgements and Reference heading should be left justified, bold, with the first letter capitalized but have no numbers. The programme was realized and subsided within the framework of the Project for enhancing Tomsk Polytechnic University's competitiveness.


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Makarenko, N. I., Kvesko, S. B., & Chaplinskaya, Y. I. (2017). Social Risk as Factor for Developing Society in Context of Citizens’ Welfare. In K. Anna Yurevna, A. Igor Borisovich, W. Martin de Jong, & M. Nikita Vladimirovich (Eds.), Responsible Research and Innovation, vol 26. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 590-596). Future Academy.