Problems and Procedures in the Regulation of Technological Risk

  • Dorothy Nelkin
  • Michael Pollak
Part of the General Motors Research Laboratories book series (RLSS)


Until recently, evaluating the risks of technology has been considered a technical problem, not a political issue; a problem relegated to expertise, not to public debate. But disputes have politicized the issue of risk and led to the development of procedures to enhance public acceptability of controversial projects. Our paper reviews various types of hearings, public inquiries, advisory councils, study groups and information forums that have been formed in the United States and Western Europe to resolve disputes over science and technology. We analyze the assumptions about the sources of conflict and the appropriate modes of decision making that underly these procedures. And we suggest some reasons for their rather limited success in reducing political conflict and achieving public consensus.


Civil Servant Public Inquiry Public Hearing American Petroleum Institute Nuclear Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Nelkin
    • 1
  • Michael Pollak
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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