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  

Ruben Langer

University of Duisburg-Essen

Anne-Kathrin Fischer

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science

Björn Fischbach

University of Duisburg-Essen - Department of Economics and Business Administration

Achim Goerres

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science

Date Written: November 28, 2016

Abstract

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

Langer, Ruben and Fischer, Anne-Kathrin and Fischbach, Björn and Goerres, Achim, Overcoming Theoretical Divisions in Risk Analysis: Expanding the Idea of Integration in the Social Amplification of Risk Framework (November 28, 2016). Big Risks Working Paper 1, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2876528 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2876528

Ruben Langer (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

Anne-Kathrin Fischer

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science ( email )

Lotharstrasse 65
Duisburg, D-47057
Germany

Björn Fischbach

University of Duisburg-Essen - Department of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Universitätsstr. 9
Essen, 45141
Germany

Achim Goerres

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science ( email )

Lotharstrasse 65
Duisburg, D-47057
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.achimgoerres.de

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