Risk Management or Uncertainty Governance? The Challenge of an Interdisciplinary Approach

By Anna Garcia Hom, Rachel Palmén, Ramon J. Moles Plaza and Sergi Fábregues Feijoó.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The governance of risk has become an increasingly 'hot subject' as recent technological controversies have ignited significant levels of public alarm in a wide range of diverse arenas in distinct geographical locations. Recent controversies have led to the very questioning of more traditional forms of risk management as technical and scientific expertise is increasingly questioned by the public as regards its ability to manage contemporary risks adequately. Despite the existence of a wide range of literature discussing various elements of risk management the assumptions embedded within this literature are that risks can essentially be prevented, controlled and managed with the accumulation of scientific knowledge. Contemporary risks however can be characterized by the lack of scientific knowledge regarding a) the elements that constitute these risks and b) their very existence. The relationship between science and society, experts and laypeople, technocrats and citizens needs to be redefined to reflect this new reality of 'uncertainty'.

Keywords: Risk: Dynamic Phenomenon, Socio-Technical Complexity, Uncertainty Governance, Participation

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.127-134. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 531.087KB).

Anna Garcia Hom

Senior Researcher, NEGRISC Research Programme, The Governance of Risk Research Centre (UOC-IN3/ UAB-FEPSI), Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Anna Garcia Hom finished her PhD in sociology at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. In 2005 she published her book 'Negotiating Risk' looking at the management of risks in times of social and technological change. She is currently the senior researcher in the research programme NEGRISC, within the Governance of Risk Research Centre (UOC-IN3/UAB-FEPSI). The Governance of Risk Research Centre is a new interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement nucleus related to the field of the governance and prevention of risks.

Rachel Palmén

Researcher, NEGRISC Research Programme, The Governance of Risk Research Centre, (UOC-IN3/ UAB- FEPSI), Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Rachel Palmén has just finished her phd, 'Participation, Power and Democracy', looking at participatory processes at the neighbourhood level in two case studies, Porto Alegre, Brazil and Hull, England, based at CRESR, Sheffield Hallam University. She currently forms part of the NEGRISC research programme within the Governance of Risk Research Centre (UOC-IN3/UAB-FEPSI). The Governance of Risk Research Centre is a new interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement nucleus related to the field of the governance and prevention of risks.

Ramon J. Moles Plaza

Professor, Department of Adminstrative Law, UAB, The Governance of Risk Research Centre (UOC-IN3/UAB-FEPSI), Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Ramon J. Moles Plaza is professor of Administrative Law at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB). He is also Director of the Governance of Risk Research Centre(UOC-IN3/UAB-FEPSI). The Governance of Risk Research Centre is a new interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement nucleus related to the field of the governance and prevention of risks. His research interests include quality control and self-regulation.

Sergi Fábregues Feijoó

Researcher, NEGRISC Research Programme, The Governance of Risk Research Centre (UOC-IN3/UAB-FEPSI), Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Sergi Fàbregues Feijoó completed his Msc in Social and Public Policy at Pompeu Fabra in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. He is currently undertaking doctoral research in the field of the sociology of risk and uncertainty at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He forms part of the NEGRISC research programme within the Governance of Risk Research Centre (UOC-IN3/UAB-FEPSI. The Governance of Risk Research Centre is a new interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement nucleus related to the field of the governance and prevention of risks.

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