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Shifting anxieties, altered media: Risk communication in networked times

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Over the last two decades both the landscape of risk and the organization of public communication have been substantially transformed by the intersection of two processes: the digitalization of media systems and the acceleration of marketization. Taken together, these shifts raise a series of conceptual and research issues for work in risk communication. This article sets out to sketch an agenda for discussion by outlining the implications of current changes for five key areas of risk research: public knowledge, public debate; popular participation and mobilization; surveillance and monitoring; and security and safety. It argues that in the current economic and political context digitalized media have contradictory potentials. On the one hand, they can enhance public engagement in information, deliberation and mobilization around risk issues. On the other hand, they also allow for more intensive categorization of selected social groups as sources of risk, and by making the operation of essential infrastructural services increasingly dependent on digital networks, they generate a major new source of economic and social risks.
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Keywords: deliberation; digitalization; marketization; networks; public knowledge; security; surveillance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Loughborough University.

Publication date: 01 November 2010

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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