Dr. Andreas Klinke has published a new article entitled “Public Understanding of Risk and Risk Governance” in the Journal of Risk Research, which is the leading risk research journal in Europe.
The general public often fears the wrong risks and has a blind spot when it comes to global existential risks. People have divergent and emotive attitudes to risk rather than rational understanding. For this reason, public understanding of risk and risk governance promotes a non-tendentious and theory-neutral approach designed in a way so that laypersons can become aware of, make sound judgments about and take action in terms of risk. Public understanding refers to the creation of scientific literacy, sagacity, and decisional competence within a broad public. The public understanding encompasses two primary dimensions: knowledge and rationality. They empower the public’s ability to adopt an impartial perspective which is essential to ensure the democratic formation of public opinion and political will. I argue that the public understanding can be established through the engagement of the public. I explore and conceptualize the generation and propagation of the public understanding of risk and risk governance through three elements of understanding: epistemic, ontological, and teleological. These elements constituting public understanding are produced by a tripartite functional differentiation of deliberative production, namely an interplay between scientific, associational and public deliberation within risk governance.