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The Songlines of Risk

Author

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  • Sheila Jasanoff

Abstract

Two decades of social and political analysis have helped to enrich the concept of risk that underlies the bulk of modern environmental regulation. Risk is no longer seen merely as the probability of harm arising from more or less determinable physical, biological or social causes. Instead, it seems more appropriate to view risk as the embodiment of deeply held cultural values and beliefs ­ the songlines of the paper's title ­ concerning such issues as agency, causation, and uncertainty. These values are incorporated into the formal methodologies, such as quantitative risk assessment, by which industrial societies assess risk. The meaning of risk accordingly varies from one cultural context to another, posing difficult problems for global environmental governance. The paper reflects on the role of science in promoting convergent perceptions of risk across disparate political cultures.

Suggested Citation

  • Sheila Jasanoff, 1999. "The Songlines of Risk," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 8(2), pages 135-152, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev8:ev808
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Bowman, 2015. "Sovereignty, Risk and Biotechnology: Zambia's 2002 GM Controversy in Retrospect," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(6), pages 1369-1391, November.
    2. repec:eee:reensy:v:110:y:2013:i:c:p:34-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:ieaple:v:18:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10784-017-9377-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:spr:jenvss:v:7:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s13412-016-0388-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bhavna Shamasunder & Rachel Morello-Frosch, 2016. "Scientific contestations over “toxic trespass”: health and regulatory implications of chemical biomonitoring," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 6(3), pages 556-568, September.
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1424-:d:107940 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environmental risk; risk assessment; agency; causation; uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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