Overcoming Theoretical Divisions in Risk Analysis: Expanding the Idea of Integration in the Social Amplification of Risk Framework
Big Risks Working Paper 1, 2016
21 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 28, 2016
The field of risk analysis is divided along various lines. As early as 1988 the Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF) by Kasperson et al. was developed to overcome those divisions and to explain the phenomenon of diverging risk perceptions. This paper presents a meticulous examination of the SARF, one of the most cited theoretical frameworks in interdisciplinary risk analysis, as well as its critics. The SARF aspires to integrate theoretically across two different dimensions: various social-scientific approaches to risk and the tradition of technical risk assessment. With respect to the first dimension, we argue that the SARF is marred by profound vagueness as well as ambiguities that obfuscate the framework. With respect to the second dimension, we suggest that the SARF fails to achieve its objective for systematic reasons. To remedy these shortcomings, we put forward a more integrative concept of risk. This richer concept, then, helps us to shed light on diverging risk perceptions.
Keywords: risk, objectivism, subjectivism, social amplification, theory, theoretical framework
JEL Classification: D81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation