Write a Report on the Disputed Role of Expert Knowledge in Understanding and Managing Risk
1 Introduction page 2
2 Risk in our lives page 2
2.1 Soil page 2
2.2 Sunbathing page 3
3 Ulrich Beck page 3
4 Experts and lay epidemiology page 4
5 Conclusion page 4
6 References page 5
This report will examine the disputed role of expert knowledge in understanding and managing risk.
It will look at the definitions of risk and discuss two case studies which reflect how the experts’ knowledge has influenced the perception of risks and the subsequent management of these risks. It will also look at the sociological theory of risk created by Ulrich Beck and how …show more content…
3 Ulrich Beck
Beck is a sociologist who is theorist on risk. Beck states that ‘we’re moving from a society in which it used to be about the distribution of wealth and income to a society which is about the distribution of harm’ (‘A risky world?’, 2009, track 3).
An example of how this can be explained is by using the reactor explosion in Chernobyl in 1986. Those living in the fallout zones knew that they were in danger but because the risk was invisible had to rely on the knowledge of experts.
Beck uses this case as an example of where ‘invisible risks are increasingly being pushed to the fore’ (Carter and Jordan, 2009, page 80) and that we are in a transition to a risk society.
However, one of Becks central concerns is ‘the role of expert knowledge in defining the risks that go on to cause concern for us all’ and ‘expert knowledge does not straightforwardly determine public opinion’ (Carter and Jordan, 2009, page 72).The next section looks at the difference in expert and lay epidemiology and how the role of the expert can influence our perception of risk.
4 Expert and lay epidemiology
Epidemiology is ‘the study of the various things that contribute to illness, disease and death in human populations, and it has become the foundation