Uncertainty and risk: politics and analysis

Robertus Hoppe

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In environmental and sustainable development policy issues, and in infrastructural megaprojects and issues of innovative medical technologies as well, public authorities face emergent complexity, high value diversity, difficult-to-structure problems, high decision stakes, high uncertainty, and thus risk. In practice, it is believed, this often leads to crises, controversies, deadlocks, and policy fiascoes. Decision-makers are said to face a crisis in coping with uncertainty. Both the cognitive structure of uncertainty and the political structure of risk decisions have been studied. So far, these scientific literatures exist side by side, with few apparent efforts at theoretically conceptualizing and empirically testing the links between the two. Therefore, this exploratory and conceptual paper takes up the challenge: How should we conceptualize the cognitive structure of uncertainty? How should we conceptualize the political structure of risk? How can we conceptualize the link(s) between the two? Is there any empirical support for a conceptualization that bridges the analytical and political aspects of risk? What are the implications for guidelines for risk analysis and assessment?
Original languageUndefined
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventWorkshop on science policy guidelines for risk analysis - Bremen
Duration: 6 Oct 20067 Oct 2006


ConferenceWorkshop on science policy guidelines for risk analysis
Other6-7 October 2006


  • IR-84538

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