Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Social Representations of Natural Hazard Risk in Swiss Mountain Regions

Version 1 : Received: 15 November 2018 / Approved: 16 November 2018 / Online: 16 November 2018 (13:35:01 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Maidl, E.; Buchecker, M. Social Representations of Natural Hazard Risk in Swiss Mountain Regions. Geosciences 2019, 9, 2. Maidl, E.; Buchecker, M. Social Representations of Natural Hazard Risk in Swiss Mountain Regions. Geosciences 2019, 9, 2.

Journal reference: Geosciences 2018, 9, 2
DOI: 10.3390/geosciences9010002

Abstract

The term “risk” is connoted with divergent meanings in natural hazard risk research and the practice of risk management. Whilst the technical definition is accurately defined, in practice, the term “risk” is often synonymously used with “danger”. Considering this divergence as a deficiency, risk communication often aims to correct laypersons’ understanding. We suggest in reference to Breakwell (2001) to treat the variety of meanings as a resource for risk communication strategies instead. However, there is no investigation so far, of what laypersons’ meanings of risk actually comprise. To address this gap, we examine the meanings of risk applying a social representations approach (Moscovici, 2001) in a qualitative case study design. Results of the study among inhabitants of Swiss mountain villages show that differences in meanings were found according to hazard experience and community size. We found commonly shared core representations, and single peripheral ones. We conclude with suggestions on how to make usage of the knowledge on SR in risk communication.

Subject Areas

social representations; natural hazard risk; Alpine hazards; risk communication; risk management; qualitative risk research;

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 20 December 2018
Commenter: Elisabeth Maidl
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: The final, peer-reviewed version of this paper is available at: http://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/9/1/2/pdf
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