The Spatial Dimension of Risk: How Geography Shapes the Emergence of Riskscapes, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Spatial Dimension of Risk

How Geography Shapes the Emergence of Riskscapes, 1st Edition

Edited by Detlef Müller-Mahn


264 pages

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Through its exploration of the spatial dimension of risk, this book offers a brand new approach to theorizing risk, and significant improvements in how to manage, tolerate and take risks. A broad range of risks are examined, including natural hazards, climate change, political violence, and state failure. Case studies range from the Congo to Central Asia, from tsunami in Japan and civil war affected areas in Sri Lanka to avalanche hazards in Austria. In each of these cases, the authors examine the importance and role of space in the causes and differentiation of risk, in how we can conceptualize risk from a spatial perspective and in the relevance of space and locality for risk governance. This new approach – endorsed by Ragnar Löfstedt and Ortwin Renn, two of the world's leading and most prolific risk analysts – is essential reading for those charged with studying, anticipating and managing risks.


The Spatial Dimension of Risk offers fresh, practical ways of seeing risk, governance and space. It combines previously separate approaches: sociology of risk, geography of hazard and politics of policy. The authors invite us to think about war, flood, disease and terrorism in new ways – changing our thought as profoundly as Beck’s ‘Risk Society’ 20 years ago.’ – Benjamin Wisner, disaster management consultant and author of Disaster Risk Reduction: Cases from Urban Africa (Earthscan 2009), Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction (Routledge 2011) and Disaster Management: International Lessons in Risk Reduction, Response and Recovery (upcoming Routledge 2013)

‘The book gives the floor to a central dimension of risk, namely its spatiality. Spatiality comes in many different disguises, in the Global South as well as in the North, be it state border policies, propagation of contagious diseases, distribution of drought or landslide risk, or the question on which scale a risk should be managed in a most optimal way. With the concept of ‘Riskscapes’, the book provides an innovative and comprehensive frame for these widely diverse aspects of risk.’Jakob Rhyner, Director of the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security and Vice Rector in Europe of the United Nations University

'This is an important book to read if you are involved in risk management and or spatial information systems like GIS. It will challenge conventional thinking and cause the reader to think about risk in new ways. As a result, it will lead to thinking about developing new applications that are oriented to risk management. The editor has done an excellent job pulling this book together. You will not only learn from this book, but it will likely further your career with the content embedded between the covers. One of the best books on spatial information you can read.' – Jeff Thurston, 3D Visualization World

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Space Matters! Impacts for Risk Governance Ortwin Renn and Andreas Klinke 2. Riskscapes: The Spatial Dimensions of Risk Detlef Müller-Mahn and Jonathan Everts 3. A Place for Space in Risk Research – The Example of Discourse Analysis Approaches Peter Weichhart and Karl-Michael Höferl 4. Risk, Space and System Theory: Communication and management of natural hazards Jürgen Pohl, Swen Zehetmair and Julia Mayer 5. The Certainty of Uncertainty: Topographies of risk and landscapes of fear in Sri Lanka’s civil war Benedikt Korf 6. Anxiety and Risk: Pandemics in the 21st century Jonathan Everts 7. Ungoverned Territories – The construction of spaces of risk in the ‘War on Terrorism’ Conrad Schetter 8. Spaces of Risk and Cultures of Resilience – HIV/AIDS and Adherence in Botswana Fred Krüger 9. Risk as a Technology of Power: FRONTEX as an example of the de-politicization of EU migration regimes Bernd Belina and Judith Miggelbrink 10. An impossible site? Understanding risk and its geographies in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo Martin Doevenspeck 11. Boundary-making as a Strategy for Risk Reduction in Conflict-prone Spaces Hermann Kreutzmann 12. Bethinking Oneself of the Risk of (Physical) Geography Barbara Zahnen 13. Space and Time: Coupling dimensions in natural hazard risk management? Sven Fuchs and Margreth Keiler 14. Making Sense of the Spatial Dimensions of Risk Detlef Müller-Mahn, Jonathan Everts and Martin Doevenspeck

About the Editor

Detlef Müller-Mahn is Professor of Social Geography and Director of ZENEB (Center for Natural Risks and Development Bayreuth) at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

About the Series

Earthscan Risk in Society

The Earthscan Risk in Society series publishes high quality research, teaching, practical and policy- related books on topics that address risk analysis, risk assessment, risk perception, risk management, uncertainty and decision-making in society. Professor Ragnar Lofstedt is the series editor and the series has published highly influential authors in the field of risk, including Ortwin Renn, Baruch Fischhoff and Paul Slovic.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Insurance / Risk Assessment & Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
NATURE / Natural Disasters
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography