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From risk to the government of uncertainty: the case of mobile telephony


  • Olivier Borraz


Confronted with complex and wicked issues, public authorities turn to science and expertise to provide answers that will help reduce the level of uncertainty that characterizes these issues. Yet, the paper argues that more often than not, it is the application of a risk framework to a given issue that fosters uncertainty, not the other way round. Hence, the more authorities and experts attempt to apply a risk approach to an issue, the more they encourage the production of uncertainty. Taking mobile telephony as a case in point, the paper then goes on to show that to reduce uncertainties, authorities in some countries have recently experimented with new forms of knowledge in the process of expertise; paradoxically, this may raise in a first moment the general level of uncertainty, but it may also provide in the longer term more robust knowledge. The larger aim of the paper is to expand conceptions of uncertainty commonly used in risk governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Borraz, 2011. "From risk to the government of uncertainty: the case of mobile telephony," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(8), pages 969-982, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jriskr:v:14:y:2011:i:8:p:969-982
    DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2011.574316

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    Cited by:

    1. Yanwei Li & Araz Taeihagh & Martin De Jong, 2018. "The Governance of Risks in Ridesharing: A Revelatory Case from Singapore," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(5), pages 1-21, May.

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