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  • Duckett_et_al_2014_Sociologia_Ruralis

    Rights statement: © 2014 The Authors. Sociologia Ruralis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Society for Rural Sociology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Sociologia Ruralis, Vol 55, Number 4, October 2015

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Can policy be risk-based?: the cultural theory of risk and the case of livestock disease containment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Sociologia Ruralis
Issue number4
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)379-399
Early online date3/12/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article explores the nature of calls for risk-based policy present in expert discourse from a cultural theory perspective. Semi-structured interviews with professionals engaged in the research and management of livestock disease control provide the data for a reading proposing that the real basis of policy relating to socio-technical hazards is deeply political and cannot be purified through ‘escape routes’ to objectivity. Scientists and risk managers are shown calling, on the one hand, for risk-based policy approaches while on the other acknowledging a range of policy drivers outside the scope of conventional quantitative risk analysis including group interests, eventualities such as outbreaks, historical antecedents, emergent scientific advances and other contingencies. Calls for risk-based policy are presented, following cultural theory, as ideals connected to a reductionist epistemology and serving particular professional interests over others rather than as realistic proposals for a paradigm shift.

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© 2014 The Authors. Sociologia Ruralis published by John Wiley