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Risk communication, phenomenology, and the limits of representation

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Despite movements towards more dialogic and rhetorical models, the field of risk communication remains rooted in foundational commitments regarding ontology, epistemology, authority and practice. In prevailing views of risk communication, risk is the primary phenomenon and communication is a secondary and subordinate process. Applying Heidegger's phenomenological critique of the modern world picture, phenonenologically-grounded communication theory, and Luhmann's model of autopoietic social systems, this essay proposes an alternative view in which communication constitutes, rather than represents, risks and explores the implications of such a view.

Keywords: Heidegger; Luhmann; constitutive communication; phenomenology; representation; risk communication

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: North Carolina State University.

Publication date: 2010-11-01

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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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