Credibility and trust in risk communication

  • Ortwin Renn
  • Debra Levine
Part of the Technology, Risk, and Society book series (RISKGOSO, volume 4)


Institutions and social actors involved in managing risk have to cope with the problem of legitimating their decisions and policies in a political arena, in which the major stakeholders are still defining their social role and in which the public is observing a confusing mix of controversial and often contradictory information. Furthermore, in spite of the newness of the new risk paradigm in society, two opposing camps have evolved: one supporting and promoting large technologies and further economic growth, and the other opposing large-scale technologies, supporting conservation efforts, and favoring a zero or low growth economy. In the cultural theory of risk these two groups have been labelled as center and periphery (Douglas and Wildavski 1982) or entrepreneurian and sectarian (Rayner and Cantor 1987). The two camps have formed their own institutions and support groups, and try to convince the general public that their perspective on risk is the one to pursue. The rigidity of their positions has polarized the public debate.


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

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  • Ortwin Renn
  • Debra Levine

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