Policy-making has always involved uncertainty; however the presence of unknowns has become far more conspicuous and problematic in recent times. One important way in which policy-makers have increasingly sought to deal with such uncertainty is through approaches rooted in understandings of risk. This book comprises a rather diverse collection of six chapters, alongside one more explicitly theoretical introduction, each taking up a distinct perspective in scrutinising the relationship between policy, risk and uncertainty.
Important concerns addressed within these different studies include: how risk-governance policies are shaped by risk awareness (or a lack thereof) and the mediating role of trust; the framing of policy through an emphasis on particular risks and the corresponding impact on societal beliefs, discourses and institutional power; the organisational processes which lead to some risks being tackled while others are neglected; and processes of (de-) politicising uncertainty at the interface between scientists and policy-makers. Contributors explore trans-national institutions, national bodies, and local government – within diverse geographical contexts including China, Brazil, the Baltic Sea, Australia, the UK, and Europe. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Risk Research.
Table of Contents
Introduction – Risk, uncertainty and policy: towards a social-dialectical understanding Patrick R. Brown and Anna Olofsson
1. Nuclear power in China after Fukushima: understanding public knowledge, attitudes, and trust Guizhen He, Arthur P.J. Mol, Lei Zhang and Yonglong Lu
2. The ‘new social contract’ and the individualisation of risk in policy Myra Hamilton
3. Towards a global governance of risks: international health organisations and the surveillance of emerging infectious diseases Muriel Figuié
4. Risks and political responses to climate change in Brazilian coastal cities Fabiana Barbi and Leila da Costa Ferreira
5. Unravelling science-policy interactions in environmental risk governance of the Baltic Sea: comparing fisheries and eutrophication Sebastian Linke, Michael Gilek, Mikael Karlsson and Oksana Udovyk
6. Risk policies and risk perceptions: a comparative study of environmental health risk policy and perception in six European countries Christian Bröer, Gerben Moerman, Pita Spruijt and Ric van Poll
Patrick Brown is Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His recent work includes Making Health Policy, and Trusting on the Edge.
Anna Olofsson is Professor in Sociology and Director of Risk and Crisis Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, Oestersund, Sweden. Her research interests include intersectional risk theory and methodologies.