A literature review on the relationship between risk governance and public engagement in relation to complex environmental issues

R. G. van der Vegt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Over the last two decades demands for greater public engagement have emerged in policy circles and academia, particularly when it comes to risk-related decision-making, or risk governance. However, the literature shows there is a lack of evidence when it comes to the impact of public engagement initiatives and significant questions remain over who to include, what processes to follow and what outcomes to expect. Furthermore, the literature exhibits contradictions in how researchers with different theoretical approaches attempt to answer these kinds of questions. This paper therefore proposes a systematic literature review in order to map the current breadth and variation in the literature and to identify any major variations from previous findings. A methodical search query has been applied to Scopus and Web of Science to search for academic articles. These were subsequently assessed for their suitability through a structured literature selection process. The results identify a number of methodologically different approaches in which knowledge on risk governance and public engagement has been developed. These diverse approaches are eventually grouped into clusters based on similarities in co-citations and references that are identified through bibliometrics and a subsequent content analysis. The proposed clusters have been labeled risk governance; environmental science, policy and governance; disaster risk management; science and technology studies; post-normal science; and public understanding of science. These six clusters are ultimately discussed and differentiated based on their main features which is particularly relevant for researchers and policy-makers seeking to get an understanding of, or broaden their disciplinary engagement with, risk governance and public engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Volume21
Issue number11
Early online date2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018

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