Risk: a fiction

Monk, John (2002). Risk: a fiction. In: International Summer Academy on Technology Studies: Technology and the Public, 7-12 Jul 2002, Deutschlandsberg, Austria.


Uncertainty creates anxiety so attempts have been made to reduce it using mathematical techniques. In the electronics industry the very large quantities of devices processed have provided reliable statistics and the opportunity to employ statistical methods. However, in fields such as decision-making and risk assessment there are strong criticisms of the probability calculus that have been triggered by discrepancies between the analysis of experts and non-experts. A radically different alternative is to view risk assessment and decision-making as exercises in rhetoric centred on storytelling language games. And to see the risk assessors as part of a political network attempting to influence action.

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