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Unruly pathogens : eliciting values for environmental risk in the context of heterogeneous expert knowledge.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

  • Rob Fish
  • Michael Winter
  • David M. Oliver
  • David Chadwick
  • Theresa Selfa
  • Louise Heathwaite
  • Chris Hodgson
Journal publication date05/2009
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Journal number3
Volume12
Number of pages16
Pages281-296
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper examines some of the theoretical and methodological issues arising from the process of conceptualising and eliciting values for environmental risk in the context of heterogeneous expert knowledge. Drawing on the experience of a recent research project examining the relationship between livestock farming systems and microbial watercourse pollution the paper reflects critically upon efforts to develop an interdisciplinary assessment of the factors that may affect the loss of potential pathogens from agricultural land to water courses as the basis for targeting high risk fields and farms. The paper describes the procedures for designing the natural and cultural parameters that surround microbial risks and the issues that are raised for making whole system assessments workable based on contrasting and unstable systems of disciplinary insight. Situated within claims about the need for generating reliable and widely applicable assessments of environmental risk the paper suggests that interdisciplinary working raises important issues about the role of ‘uncertain’ knowledge in the management of ‘known’ risks.