World Congress on Risk 2015
19-23 July, 2015, Singapore

Online Program

Session Schedule & Abstracts

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Common abbreviations

Tuesday 21-07-2015

East Asia Risk Governance

Room: Creation   13:30–15:00

Chair(s): Shu-Fen Kao , Kuei-Tien Chou

1    Cosmopolitan Approach of Transboundary Risk Governance in East Asia. Chou K.T.    (196)

Abstract: From a theoretical discussion with varied case studies, focusing on analysis of East Asia context, this paper argues in terms of colliding and emancipating existed risk governance paradigm, only threaten by more environmental, health, technological, social security and climate disaster, it may construct a socially robust reflexivity that evokes diverse NGOs, civil groups, intellectuals (professors, university students) and art groups etc. constantly unite together. Namely, the emerging diverse, heterogeneous, trans-boundary, and cross-border sub-politic movements might be the solution to break the iron cage of authoritative expert politics in this region. Moreover, the author points out that it might be the chance to reorganize the risk individualization, re-construct civil society and challenge the state. That is, this bottom-up civil (knowledge) participatory path in East Asia style, is then enough to challenge its authoritative structure of elite governance. In other words, this might be the one of the path of cosmopolitan governance (middle range) theory by East Asia.

2    Beyond the Catastrophic Energy System: Metamorphosis from Passive Energy Consumers to Active Energy Producers. Yun S.J.    (122)

Abstract: The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan that occurred in 2011 has revealed the risk and vulnerability of the modern nuclear energy system. The disaster has led some of the Korean public to be reflexive; in particular to recognize the risks associated with the use of nuclear power and pay attention to the concept of energy citizenship—pursuing safer, ethical and responsible energy use. South Korea is one of the most aggressive countries in the world in terms of expanding its nuclear capacity. Generally, electricity produced by nuclear reactors has been regarded as a source of wealth and convenience, as well as crucial for continued industrialization. However, public support for nuclear power has been decreasing. In addition to Fukushima, the awareness of the risks associated with nuclear power improved after December 2011, when corruption and bribery in the procurement of nuclear reactor parts were revealed to the general public. Much of the Korean public has quickly become very suspicious about nuclear safety as a result. After Fukushima, a new wave of anti-nuclear activity has appeared in South Korea. Before Fukushima, opposition to nuclear energy was confined to local residents situated near nuclear power plants and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs); both of whom actively opposed nuclear reactor construction and the siting of radioactive waste disposal facilities. Right after Fukushima, expert-led organizations emerged and some political leaders have changed their perspectives on nuclear power. Nonprofessional and untrained citizens have also exercised their energy citizenship in several other ways. Many people in South Korea are in the process of such a paradigm shift. However, the number of concerned citizens undergoing the process of metamorphosis is only a minority. Metamorphosis in the energy dimension, however, has not been mainstreamed yet.

3    Searching for participatory risk governance: A case study of the first citizens’ jury on the Pandemic Influenza in South Korea. Lee Y.H.    (140)

Abstract: Due to technical complexity, most public policies in technological society used to be dominated by expert-centrism and technocracy, based on the belief that they should be the exclusive realm of technical experts. This has been particularly true in Korea’s public policy cultures even after democratization of Korean society. I will analyze the Korean experience of the citizens\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' jury on the Pandemic Influenza response system, a form of citizens\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' deliberative participation, from the perspective of participatory risk governance. Avian influenza (AI) is generally called the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"bird flu\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" or \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"bird influenza.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" It is an acute infectious disease that occurs through infection by the avian influenza virus, a devastating disease with almost 100% mortality rate that causes acute respiratory symptoms in chickens, turkeys and other poultry. The problem became even more serious as it was recently discovered that it infects not only poultry but also human beings. Fourteen members of citizens’ jury were selected through random sampling by a professional survey organization in 2008. Members of the citizens\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' jury listened to the presentations by different experts, asked questions, held their own discussions and came to their final assessment and policy recommendations. To form a well thought-out recommendation report, citizens’ jury members spent four weekend days across two weeks learning and deliberating Korean government’s Avian Influenza policy in August and September, 2008. For four days, there were testimonies by eight experts, questions and answers, and discussions by the whole jury or by sub-groups. On the last day, the opinions of the citizen jurors were collected. This paper tries to evaluate the first citizens\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' jury in Korea in 2008 in terms of participatory risk governance and democracy regarding technical issues.

4    Critical Analysis of the Risk Governance Paradigm: Farmers’ Experience of Radiation Contamination in Fukushima. Yamaguchi T.    (124)

Abstract: The experience of radiation contamination of agricultural crops is seen as a significant issue for agriculture in Japan with major ramifications for livelihood of farmers in the regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Much of the issues discussed in terms of public policy, however are issues within a science-based risk analysis framework ignoring an everyday experience of farmers. Within such framework the risks involving radiation contamination of agricultural crops are frequently presented as if the problem is becquerel detected or not detected in farm products, and techniques decontaminating farm lands and more testing of farm products. From an everyday social perspective of farmers, however everyday experience of risks are much more complex than the ideas and the assumptions built in within the science-based framework, that involve social relations of farmers, anxiety about the plight of Fukushima, and a fundamental mismatch between their values and morals and assumptions of the science-based framework. Against this backdrop, this paper attempts to critically engage with the heuristic devices and frames that are embedded within the risk analysis framework by way of comparing them with farmers’ views and responses to radiation contamination of agricultural crops and their efforts to understand, manage and/or avoid risk. I argue that social and ethical issues that surface in the interview data require as much attention as the technoscientific dimensions which usually are the main focus of the existing risk governance framework. Ignoring an everyday experience of farmers replicate asymmetrical relationships between stakeholders in the risk governance sphere. The data comes from in-depth interviews with farmers in Fukushima.

5    Scientific Uncertainty, Risk Perceptions and Democratization of Expertise: Envisioning Participatory Risk Governance of EMF in Taiwan. Kao S.F.    (111)

Abstract: Different sources of EMF health risks controversies have been a social problem since early 2000s in Taiwan. These EMF controversies include: local communities protest against construction of mobile phone base stations, high-voltage power lines, substations, weather radars … etc. The author argues that the EMF controversy over weather radar or other sources is not a question of pure science, but involved with uncertainty and complicated interactions of technical-social systems, including health, ethical, economic and social concerns. It is critical to examine the dynamics of expertise and the transformation of how politics of experts authority permeating deliberation. Utilizing qualitative approach with secondary data analysis (including two deliberative forums of expert panel meetings), in-depth interviews with technocrats, and two focus groups, the author first investigates the epistemology and social values embedded behind risk perceptions of technocrats. Then, the author inquires patterns and limitations of risk communication among technocrats and to understand technocrats’ view points on public participation in technology decision-making. Based on the findings from interviews, two focus groups related to scientific uncertainty of non-thermal effects, risk communication, and risk governance innovation are conducted and analyzed. Varied stakeholders in EMF controversies and technocrats are included in the focus groups discussion. The author hopes to create a channel for dialogue and communication in order to bring reconciliation between actors of the two sides of EMF controversies. Moreover, the author reflects upon questions surrounding the prospects and limitations for democratization of expertise within the deliberative forum of expert panel meetings and two focus groups in Taiwan. Finally, the author discusses some challenges for democratizing expertise in this Taiwan case and then suggests future excises to enhancing public participation in risk governance.

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