Conflicting notions of risk : the chasm of conflict between institutions and the public

Barnes, Paul H. (1995) Conflicting notions of risk : the chasm of conflict between institutions and the public. In Melchers, R.E. & Stewart, M.G. (Eds.) Integrated Risk Assessment : Current Practice and New Directions : Proceedings of the Conference on Integrated Risk Assessment, Newcastle, N.S.W., Australia, 1-2 June 1995. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 15-21.


The trust and credibility gap between institutional regulators and the public is based on fundamental social and cultural differences related to power and authority. It is also associated with the 'distance' of a bureaucracies from those whom they serve. The nature of public concern about risk may be investigated by considering specific cognitive decision making 'rules' such as 'familiarity' of a hazard or 'voluntariness' of exposure. A more complete appreciation of the 'how' and 'why' of public response to danger from industrial hazards can be gained by appreciating these 'rules' within the broader context of mis-communication between 'elite' regulators and a highly diverse public. If the results of risk assessments are expressed in technical terms alone, it is unlikely that any real communication will occur. Further, if issues related to the 'remote' nature of much institutional decision making are not addressed, closure of the 'gap' may be difficult to bring about.

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ID Code: 70589
Item Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 9054105550
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > INTERDISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING (091500) > Risk Engineering (excl. Earthquake Engineering) (091507)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1995 A.A. Balkema
Deposited On: 28 Apr 2014 23:51
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2015 15:14

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