Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives
1 Jan 2009
This is a major, and deeply thoughtful, contribution to understanding uncertainty and risk. Our world and its unprecedented challenges need such ways of thinking! Much more than a set of contributions from different disciplines, this book leads you to explore your own way of perceiving your own area of work. An outstanding contribution that will stay on my shelves for many years. Dr Neil T. M. Hamilton, Director, WWF International Arctic Programme This collection of essays provides a unique and fascinating overview of perspectives on uncertainty and risk across a wide variety of disciplines. It is a valuable and accessible sourcebook for specialists and laypeople alike. Professor Renate Schubert, Head of the Institute for Environmental Decisions and Chair of Economics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology This comprehensive collection of disciplinary perspectives on uncertainty is a definitive guide to contemporary insights into this Achilles heel of modernity and the endemic hubris of institutional science in its role as public authority. It gives firm foundations to the fundamental historic shift now underway in the world, towards normalizing acceptance of the immanent condition of ignorance and of its practical corollaries: contingency, uncontrol, and respect for difference. Brian Wynne, Professor of Science Studies, Lancaster University Bammer and Smithson have assembled a fascinating, important collection of papers on uncertainty and its management. The integrative nature of Uncertainty and Risk makes it a landmark in the intellectual history of this vital cross-disciplinary concept. George Cvetkovich, Director, Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University Uncertainty governs our lives. From the unknowns of living with the risks of terrorism to developing policies on genetically modified foods, or disaster planning for catastrophic climate change, how we conceptualize, evaluate and cope with uncertainty drives our actions and deployment of resources, decisions and priorities. In this thorough and wide-ranging volume, theoretical perspectives are drawn from art history, complexity science, economics, futures, history, law, philosophy, physics, psychology, statistics and theology. On a practical level, uncertainty is examined in emergency management, intelligence, law enforcement, music, policy and politics. Key problems that are a subject of focus are environmental management, communicable diseases and illicit drugs. Opening and closing sections of the book provide major conceptual strands in uncertainty thinking and develop an integrated view of the nature of uncertainty, uncertainty as a motivating or de-motivating force, and strategies for coping and managing under uncertainty.