1st Edition

Risk and Responsibilisation in Public Communication The Global Challenges of COVID-19 and Climate Change

By Antoinette Fage-Butler Copyright 2024
    204 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the connections between risk and responsibilisation in official communication to the public about the global risks of the pandemic and climate change.

    Our media spheres in the 2020s have been saturated with information about what we should or should not be doing to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Although the ability of risk communication to ‘responsibilise’ the public is central to its functioning in our societies, this aspect has so far been under-investigated in academia. To address this lacuna, Antoinette Fage-Butler develops a discursive approach to risk communication that focuses on the values that are communicated in risk messages. Examples of official risk communication about the pandemic and climate change from national and transnational contexts are analysed and compared, leading to new empirical findings and theoretical insights about the nature of risk and responsibilisation. Fage-Butler also builds on recent stirrings in the evolving field of risk communication that highlight the importance of cultural and value-related factors. Overall, this book will equip researchers with an approach to risk communication that reflects the complexity of today’s global risk challenges.

    Risk and Responsibilisation in Public Communication will be of great interest to students and scholars of risk communication, public health and environmental studies.

    Table of contents


    2.     Global risks

    3.     Responsibilisation and risk

    4.     Pandemic risk communication

    5.     Climate change risk communication

    6.     Risk communication for responsible action

    7.     Conclusion



    Antoinette Fage-Butler is Associate Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her research interests include risk, trustworthiness and cultural aspects of risk communication about health and climate change. She is currently the PI of the (Mis)trust of Scientific Expertise group which explores public trust in vaccine and climate science. She was awarded a Carlsberg Foundation Fellowship to write this research monograph.

    “Set against the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic and climate change, Fage-Butler’s book provides a timely and important addition to the literature seeking to understand the discursive dimension and cultural meaning of risk, and the values that permeate its communication to the public. The book is a valuable companion for students, scholars and policymakers interested in the interface between governance, risk, and responsibility." 

     Prof. Btihaj Ajana, Professor of Ethics and Digital Culture, King’s College London, UK