Institutionalized Ignorance as a Precondition for Rational Risk Expertise

Henrik Merkelsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The present case study seeks to explain the conditions for experts’ rational risk perception by analyzing the institutional contexts that constitute a field of food safety expertise in Denmark. The study highlights the role of risk reporting and how contextual factors affect risk reporting from the lowest organizational level, where concrete risks occur, to the highest organizational level, where the body of professional risk expertise is situated. The article emphasizes the role of knowledge, responsibility, loyalty, and trust as risk-attenuation factors and concludes by suggesting that the preconditions for the expert's rationality may rather be a lack of risk-specific knowledge due to poor risk reporting than a superior level of risk knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRisk Analysis
    Issue number7
    Pages (from-to)1083-1094
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Food Safety
    • Risk Reporting
    • Social Amplification of Risk

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