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Detailed review of:

Risk Governance: Coping with Uncertainty in a Complex World



Earthscan , London



Ortwin Renn



Risk Governance: Coping with Uncertainty in a Complex World

Year of Publication


2008 / 2010 (Reprinted)









Krishna B. Misra



Review published in IJPE, Vol. 6, No. 6, November 2010, p. 604.

The book consists of 10 chapters and 10 Essays interspersed as follows:



05 Pages

Chapter 1

What is Risk?

Essay 1: A Guide to Interdisciplinary Risk Research

11 Pages

34 Pages

Chapter 2


Essay 2: Farewell to the “Risk Society “

06 Pages

14 Pages

Chapter 3


Essay 3: The Precautionary Approach to Risk Analysis

12 Pages

13 Pages

Chapter 4

Risk Perception

Essay 4: Review of Psychological, Social and Cultural Factors of Risk Perception

05 Pages

51 Pages

Chapter 5

Risk Evaluation

Essay 5: Prometheus  Unbound

08 Pages

16 Pages

Chapter 6

Risk Management

Essay 6: Designing Appropriate Risk Management Strategies

12 Pages

16 Pages

Chapter 7

Risk Communication

Essay 7: Basic Concepts and Challenges of Risk Communication

Essay 8: Guidance for Effective Risk Communication

04 Pages

37 Pages

30 Pages

Chapter 8

Risk Participation

Essay 9:  Integrating Deliberation and Expertise

Essay 10: Expert, Stakeholder and Public Participation

11 Pages

48 Pages

20 Pages

Chapter 9

The Social and Political Context of Risk Governance

09 Pages

Chapter 10


07 Pages


06 Pages


08 Pages


59 Pages


11 Pages



9781844072927This book comes from a professor of environmental sociology at the State University of Stuttgart, who has researched and has made enormous contributions to the subject of risk.  Risk governance includes but extends beyond the conventional elements of risk analysis, viz., assessment, risk management and risk communication. It considers social, economic, institutional, legal contexts in which the risk is evaluated and involves all stakeholders and actors who represent them. Each chapter of this book is adapted from the document that the author had prepared for the International Risk Governing Council (IRGC, 2005) and introduces all phases of handling risk starting with pre-assessment leading finally to risk communication and public participation. A section on “notes”, towards the end of the book, provides the source of the adaptation of the 10 chapters contained in the book, which is mainly the IRGC document prepared by the author. As is obvious from the list of contents, each chapter is followed by one or two essays that are given for better explanation and understanding of the theory or concepts introduced in any chapter and in fact helps provide a deep insight of practical applications of the concepts. Thus the book builds up to an up-to-date and definitely the best treatise on the subject, which reflects 30 years of obsession of the author with risk in all its aspects. This reviewer would tend to agree with the author’s conviction that his main objective of authoring this book was to convey the “holistic and comprehensive picture” of risk even to a reader who has little familiarity with the subject and the reviewer feels that the author has largely succeeded in achieving this objective. A six–page Glossary provides a quick introduction and definitions of a large number of terms used in the book. Lastly, a long list of references, comprising 59 pages of the book, provides the most comprehensive information to a serious minded reader who would like to do a more detailed study of the subject. This book is a must for all those who are concerned with the subject of risk in any way and there is no doubt that this is one of the several excellent title full of information that Earthscan has brought out for the public at large.


Krishna B. Misra


Review published in the International Journal of Performability Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 6, November, 2010, p. 604.
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