Chapter 1 establishes the theory used. I begin with a brief look at the European origins of risk in probability calculus and discuss how the work inspired by Michel Foucault offers a micro-level analysis (with macro-level implications) of risk as a rationality central to the modern state. I then consider Niklas Luhmann’s distinction between risk and danger to look at the meaning of risk. I look not at how it has been used, as discussed in the first section, but at what it says about the world. This is followed by a review of Ulrich Beck’s risk society literature, which offers a macro-level analysis (with micro-level implications) of the aggregate effects of risk generation. I demonstrate that the risk society school highlights the role of struggle in risk formation and the shifting of responsibility for harms from state to individual. Whilst the risk society approach maintains the Foucauldian notion of risk as a cognitive construct, it emphasizes the material dimension. I then examine the notion of ‘acceptability’ to demonstrate how risk is a contested cultural artefact.