Place, culture, and the social amplification of risk

  • Masuda J
  • Garvin T
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Abstract

This article investigates the role of culture in the social production of risks and risk communication surrounding industrial development in a region located at a rural-urban interface. A case study examined a public consultation that was undertaken to inform local residents about an eco-industrial development proposal being planned near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The research employed the social amplification of risk framework (SARF) to examine the relationships among culture, place, and socially constructed risk. A total of 44 in-depth, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 33 landowners (farmers, acreage owners), public officials (municipal politicians, administrators), journalists, and industry representatives. Analysis revealed that risk communication occurred in relation to situated experiences of place that were based on conflicting cultural worldviews. The research shows that place is a useful component of the SARF, providing a spatial explanation for why some people amplify, and others attenuate, risks in locally contentious environmental debates.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Culture
  • Geography
  • Place
  • Social amplification of risk

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Authors

  • Jeffrey R. Masuda

  • Theresa Garvin

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