Bringing light to the shadows and shadows to the light: risk, risk management, and risk communication

Fischbacher-Smith, D. , Irwin, A. and Fischbacher-Smith, M. (2010) Bringing light to the shadows and shadows to the light: risk, risk management, and risk communication. In: Bennet, P., Calman, K., Curtis, S. and Fischbacher-Smith, D. (eds.) Risk Communication and Public Health. Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 23-38. ISBN 9780199562848 (doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562848.003.02)

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The core premise of this chapter is that the manner in which risk-based information is constructed, tested, communicated, and validated is a multidimensional and multi-channel process. The ‘shadows’ presented within risk debates are invariably not controlled by any group, and no single group has the ability to bring the requisite amount of illumination to the debates to ‘prove’ a particular outcome. Thus, there is an indeterminate policy position in which debates range and a ‘solution’ is not made available by science, or where the ‘error cost’ of decisions is considerable. One way of capturing this new understanding of risk and risk communication is by reflecting a little on the last three decades of institutional action, practical experience, and academic investigation of these issues. This chapter makes a modest attempt at this task, starting with some of the ‘classic’ accounts of the 1970s (specifically Rowe's attempt to schematize the processes of risk assessment) and by presenting a tentative list of some of the developments in our awareness of risk, risk management, and risk communication since that time.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Irwin, Professor Alan and Fischbacher-Smith, Professor Moira and Fischbacher-Smith, Professor Denis
Authors: Fischbacher-Smith, D., Irwin, A., and Fischbacher-Smith, M.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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