Images of the public in the debates about risk: Consequences for participation | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1476-413X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9509


This paper focuses on the difficulties of risk management, specially when the results from risk perception (the views of the risk by the general public) do not overlap the results of risk assessment (the results of technical expert analysis). Two strategies are identified to overcome these differences: information and partnership, the former being clearly promoted by the EU values. However, the implementation of this strategy depends on a image of the public as a partner in these complex societal negotiations. Three images of the public are identified as particularly negative to this debate: the image of a emotional public, the idea of a selfish public and the idea of a biased public. In different ways all of them convey the idea that the members of the general public should not be taken seriously, undermining the success of a participatory decision process.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): NIMBY; participation; risk analysis; risk management; risk perception
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