The Expert-lay Controversy in Risk Research and Management

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The Expert-lay Controversy in Risk Research and Management

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Title: The Expert-lay Controversy in Risk Research and Management
Effects of Institutional Distances. Studies of Risk Definitions, Perceptions, Management and Communication
Author: Merkelsen, Henrik
Abstract: This thesis consists of four papers which address different aspects of risk. All the papers in the thesis relate one way or another to food risks, but food risks is not the core subject matter of the thesis. The overall theme is about how risks are defined, perceived, managed and communicated. However, the empirical focus on food risks is not a result of mere coincidence. During the past decades society has witnessed a number of food scares such as BSE, avian bird flu, E-Coli, Salmonella and Dioxin residues (Löfstedt 2006; Knowles 2007). New food risk topics related to novel foods and biotechnology such as GMO have added to the public concerns over food risks (Frewer et al. 2002; Sjöberg 2008). Obesity and other consequences of lifestyle related food risks cause severe health problems (Seiders 2004). Recently the growing concern about climate changes has led to significant public concern and media attention to the environmental impacts of food miles and green house gas emissions in food production (Weber and Matthews 2008). As a consequence of this development consumer concerns over food safety have increased steadily since the 1970s (Knox 2000). The sum of all these risks and the resulting societal anxiety are a politicization of food risks similar to that of risks related to new technologies. The politicization of food risks is accompanied by increased public demands for regulation, which, similar to the case of regulating new technologies, lead to the necessity of a better understanding of what factors drive public attitudes towards those risks. Subsequently the studies of public perceptions of 10 food risks have increased steadily over the past decades (Löfstedt 2006, Hohl and Gaskel 2008)).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8289
Date: 2011-04-07

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