Title: Audience Perspectives in the Communication of Technological Risk
Authors: OTWAY HarryCANNEL William
Citation: Futures vol. 20 p. 519-531
Publication Year: 1988
JRC N°: JRC5123
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC5123
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: THE COMMUNICATION OF TECHNOLOGICAL RISK HAS BECOME A SUBJECT OF RESEARCH INTEREST BECAUSE OF INDISPUTABLE PRACTICAL PROBLEMS IN THE EXCHANGE OF TECHNICAL INFORMATION ON MATTERS OF HEALTH AND SAFETY BETWEEN DIFFERENT GROUPS IN SOCIETY. AN IMPORTANT ASSUMPTION IS IMPLICIT IN MUCH OF THE WORK IN THE FIELD: THAT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COMMUNICATIONS CAN BE JUDGED BY THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEY LEAD TO A RESOLUTION OF PERCEPTUAL DIFFERENCES AND CONFLICTS OF OUTLOOK BETWEEN DIFFERENT SOCIAL GROUPS. THIS PAPER ARGUES THAT, JUDGED BY SUCH A CRITERION, SUCCESSFUL RISK COMMUNICATION IS FUNDAMEN- TALLY UNATTAINABLE, BECAUSE SOCIAL CONFLICT IS A SIGN OF VALUE DIFFERENCES AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST WITHIN SOCIETY. PAST RESEARCH IN RISK PERCEPTION AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE, AS WELL AS BASIC DEMOCRATIC ETHICS INDICATES THAT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RISK COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE JUDGED IN A DIFFERENT MANNER; THAT IS, BY THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEY SATISFY THE NEEDS OF THEIR AUDIENCE IN RESOLVING UNCERTAINTIES ABOUT HOW TO BEHAVE IN THE FACE OF PERCEIVED THREATS
JRC Directorate:Joint Research Centre Historical Collection

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