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Types of risk transformation: a case study

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Types of risk transformation: a case study. / Busby, Jeremy; Alcock, Ruth E.; MacGillivray, Brian.

In: Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2012, p. 67-84.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Harvard

Busby, J, Alcock, RE & MacGillivray, B 2012, 'Types of risk transformation: a case study', Journal of Risk Research, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 67-84. https://doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2011.601324

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Busby, Jeremy ; Alcock, Ruth E. ; MacGillivray, Brian. / Types of risk transformation: a case study. In: Journal of Risk Research. 2012 ; Vol. 15, No. 1. pp. 67-84.

Bibtex

@article{469517050965494e8c0faab3f99a2b48,
title = "Types of risk transformation: a case study",
abstract = "There has been a long-standing concern in the literature with the idea of countervailing risks, risk trade-offs and risk migration, reflecting our experience of risks as typically being transformed rather than eliminated. Our aim has been to combine this with the similarly long-standing treatment of risk as a social construction, producing a view in which risks become transformed from one kindto another, over time, as both the world and our understanding of it change. Weinvestigated the risk transformations that have taken place around a specificgroup of flame retardant compounds, analysing how these transformations hadoccurred and how they were interpreted by actors such as scientists, regulatorystaff and advocacy group members. The study used a series of key informantinterviews and observations in technical meetings. This was followed by theapplication of qualitative template analysis, involving the categorisation of risktransformations according to: (1) whether they were interpreted as involvingphysical change or interpretational change and (2) whether they were translational, replacing one risk with another, or diffusional, merely adding to a stock of risk. One finding was that, whereas risk transformations were sometimesunderstood as being accidental or emergent, often they were seen as deliberateand functional from the standpoint of certain actors. A second finding was thatrisk transformations were often understood as being relative to the commitmentswe are prepared to relinquish. For example, replacing risk associated with oneflame retardant chemical by risk associated with another involves trade-offs thatonly arise because we retain a commitment to chemicals as flame retardants.The main contribution of the study has been to show how transformability, aswell as uncertainty, is central to problems of managing risk – and to show thatthis transformability is as much social as physical in nature.",
keywords = "risk transformation, risk trade-offs, social construction, case study",
author = "Jeremy Busby and Alcock, {Ruth E.} and Brian MacGillivray",
year = "2012",
doi = "10.1080/13669877.2011.601324",
language = "English",
volume = "15",
pages = "67--84",
journal = "Journal of Risk Research",
issn = "1366-9877",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Types of risk transformation: a case study

AU - Busby, Jeremy

AU - Alcock, Ruth E.

AU - MacGillivray, Brian

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - There has been a long-standing concern in the literature with the idea of countervailing risks, risk trade-offs and risk migration, reflecting our experience of risks as typically being transformed rather than eliminated. Our aim has been to combine this with the similarly long-standing treatment of risk as a social construction, producing a view in which risks become transformed from one kindto another, over time, as both the world and our understanding of it change. Weinvestigated the risk transformations that have taken place around a specificgroup of flame retardant compounds, analysing how these transformations hadoccurred and how they were interpreted by actors such as scientists, regulatorystaff and advocacy group members. The study used a series of key informantinterviews and observations in technical meetings. This was followed by theapplication of qualitative template analysis, involving the categorisation of risktransformations according to: (1) whether they were interpreted as involvingphysical change or interpretational change and (2) whether they were translational, replacing one risk with another, or diffusional, merely adding to a stock of risk. One finding was that, whereas risk transformations were sometimesunderstood as being accidental or emergent, often they were seen as deliberateand functional from the standpoint of certain actors. A second finding was thatrisk transformations were often understood as being relative to the commitmentswe are prepared to relinquish. For example, replacing risk associated with oneflame retardant chemical by risk associated with another involves trade-offs thatonly arise because we retain a commitment to chemicals as flame retardants.The main contribution of the study has been to show how transformability, aswell as uncertainty, is central to problems of managing risk – and to show thatthis transformability is as much social as physical in nature.

AB - There has been a long-standing concern in the literature with the idea of countervailing risks, risk trade-offs and risk migration, reflecting our experience of risks as typically being transformed rather than eliminated. Our aim has been to combine this with the similarly long-standing treatment of risk as a social construction, producing a view in which risks become transformed from one kindto another, over time, as both the world and our understanding of it change. Weinvestigated the risk transformations that have taken place around a specificgroup of flame retardant compounds, analysing how these transformations hadoccurred and how they were interpreted by actors such as scientists, regulatorystaff and advocacy group members. The study used a series of key informantinterviews and observations in technical meetings. This was followed by theapplication of qualitative template analysis, involving the categorisation of risktransformations according to: (1) whether they were interpreted as involvingphysical change or interpretational change and (2) whether they were translational, replacing one risk with another, or diffusional, merely adding to a stock of risk. One finding was that, whereas risk transformations were sometimesunderstood as being accidental or emergent, often they were seen as deliberateand functional from the standpoint of certain actors. A second finding was thatrisk transformations were often understood as being relative to the commitmentswe are prepared to relinquish. For example, replacing risk associated with oneflame retardant chemical by risk associated with another involves trade-offs thatonly arise because we retain a commitment to chemicals as flame retardants.The main contribution of the study has been to show how transformability, aswell as uncertainty, is central to problems of managing risk – and to show thatthis transformability is as much social as physical in nature.

KW - risk transformation

KW - risk trade-offs

KW - social construction

KW - case study

U2 - 10.1080/13669877.2011.601324

DO - 10.1080/13669877.2011.601324

M3 - Journal article

VL - 15

SP - 67

EP - 84

JO - Journal of Risk Research

JF - Journal of Risk Research

SN - 1366-9877

IS - 1

ER -