Risk and theory in Germany

Authored by: Wolfgang Bonß , Jens O. Zinn

Routledge Handbook of Risk Studies

Print publication date:  April  2016
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138022867
eBook ISBN: 9781315776835
Adobe ISBN: 9781317691662


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In Germany debates about risk developed along different lines from those in many other countries. In the US, Ron Johnston noted as early as 1980 that working on risk issues was ‘big business’ (1980: 105) and, in the same year, the Society of Risk Analysis was founded which produces the well-known international journal, Risk Analysis. At this time, in Germany, similar research was less well developed; however, technical-oriented risk research, in particular in chemistry and atomic technology, was being carried out. In addition, beginning in the 1970s in domains such as cancer and pregnancy, there was a significant increase in Risk Factor Medicine (Abholz et al., 1982) although again this was less developed than in the Anglosphere. In the field of psychological research, work was carried out on risk anxieties (Schicha, 1982), risk personalities (Klebelsberg, 1969) and children at risk (Steinhausen et al., 1984) but there was no significant contribution to the domains of risk perception and risk communication, which remained underdeveloped in the 1970s and 80s.

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