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See detailSiting Controversies Analysis: Framework and Method for Questioning the Procedure
Rossignol, Nicolas ULg; Parotte, Céline ULg; Joris, Geoffrey ULg et al

in Journal of Risk Research (in press)

Siting controversies are commonplace, as well against the construction of roads, railways, nuclear waste disposals, as against windfarms. Local citizens resist against siting decisions taken by the ... [more ▼]

Siting controversies are commonplace, as well against the construction of roads, railways, nuclear waste disposals, as against windfarms. Local citizens resist against siting decisions taken by the authorities, following a dynamics often quoted as ‘Not In My Back Yard’. Yet contested for its lack of analytical value, NIMBY is still used strategically by actors to qualify citizens as irrational and egoistic. Beyond this labelling, many factors are investigated to understand the dynamics behind siting controversies. In this paper, we focus on the impact of the legal procedure structuring the implantation of windfarms in the Walloon Region (Belgium), and its translations within different decision making processes in specific case studies. To that regard, we consider the legal procedure as a ‘public policy instrument’. It is neither neutral nor natural, and carry values and interests. It organizes inter-personal relations between actors, and is potentially catalyzer of frustrations. In addition, this legal procedure is the object of translations within different contexts, including different actors participating to specific decision making processes. The empirical approach of this paper is based on case studies data and on the use of an innovative methodology called ‘Open Process Workshop’. This methodology consists in a structured workshop with key stakeholders, during which the legal procedure is questioned. Overall, we demonstrate that the focus on the legal procedure - and its translations within different decision making processes - allows systemic analysis providing deep understandings of controversies and reaffirming the interlinks between ‘the social’ and ‘the technical’ in such controversies. In addition, we argue that the methodology used fosters the production of innovative knowledge, mutual understanding and collective learning between the participants. [less ▲]

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See detail“How are you Vulnerable?”: Using Participation for Vulnerability Analysis in Emergency Planning
Rossignol, Nicolas ULg; Turcanu, Catrinel; Fallon, Catherine ULg et al

in Journal of Risk Research (in press)

Scientists in many fields of research have developed models, theories and concepts attempting to grasp and manage dangers that are often difficult to imagine. Among the different perspectives, the Science ... [more ▼]

Scientists in many fields of research have developed models, theories and concepts attempting to grasp and manage dangers that are often difficult to imagine. Among the different perspectives, the Science and Technology Studies (STS) Vulnerability Approach seems very promising. Relying on a constructivist paradigm, it is based on an inductive collection and analysis of a wide range of factors, with a particular focus on cultural factors and actual day-to-day practices. In this paper, we present the roots of this approach and we display findings based on three case studies exploring emergency planning in three different contexts (a city near a SEVESO plant, a school near a nuclear plant, and a city confronted to multiple catastrophic scenarios). The cases studies were realized by conducting three Focus Groups with different types of stakeholders (citizens, teachers, firemen, decision makers, etc.). After presenting the results of the case studies, we discuss how stakeholders’ participation can inform such type of vulnerability analysis in the context of emergency planning. We argue that participation fosters a deep understanding of actual safety governance practices which allows innovative results to emerge as well as it initiates a learning process among the participants. It contributes to questioning the relations between decision-makers, experts and citizens. It has the potential of bypassing the positivist and quantitative rationale of safety, and thus, of redefining the vulnerability governance. As a conclusion, we question the role of such STS vulnerability approach within the actual vulnerability governance. [less ▲]

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See detailNUSAP: a method to evaluate the quality of assumptions in quantitative microbial risk assessment
Boone, Ides; Van der Stede, Yves; Dewulf, Jeroen et al

in Journal of Risk Research (2010), 13

implemented to evaluate assumptions in a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) model for Salmonella spp. in minced pork meat. This QMRA model allows the testing of mitigation strategies for the ... [more ▼]

implemented to evaluate assumptions in a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) model for Salmonella spp. in minced pork meat. This QMRA model allows the testing of mitigation strategies for the reduction of human salmonellosis and aims to serve as a basis for science-based policy making. The NUSAP method was used to assess the subjective component of assumptions in the QMRA model by a set of four pedigree criteria: ‘the influence of situational limitations’, ‘plausibility’, ‘choice space’ and ‘the agreement among peers’. After identifying 13 key assumptions relevant for the QMRA model, a workshop was organized to assess the importance of these assumptions on the output of the QMRA. The quality of the assumptions was visualized using diagnostic and kite diagrams. The diagnostic diagram pinpointed assumptions with a high degree of subjectivity and a high ‘expected influence on the model results’ score. Examples of those assumptions that should be dealt with care are the assumptions regarding the concentration of Salmonella on the pig carcass at the beginning of the slaughter process and the assumptions related to the Salmonella prevalence in the slaughter process. The kite diagrams allowed a clear overview of the pedigree scores for each assumption as well as a representation of expert (dis)agreement. The evaluation of the assumptions using the NUSAP system enhanced the debate on the uncertainty and its communication in the results of a QMRA model. It highlighted the model’s strong and weak points and was helpful for redesigning critical modules. Since the evaluation of assumptions allows a more critical approach of the QMRA process, it is useful for policy makers as it aims to increase the transparency and acceptance of management decisions based on a QMRA model. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Tolerability of Risk
Delvenne, Pierre ULg; Brunet, Sébastien ULg

in Journal of Risk Research (2008)

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