Risk and Resilience

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Marja YLONEN, Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Finland
Technical and social risk and resilience approaches seem to live their own lives even though there have been attempts to get them to complement each other (Renn 2008; Löstedt and Östberg 2009; Aven and Renn 2010). Endeavors to integrate technical and social aspects of risk may face practical problems. Yet, in order to maintain a fruitful dialogue between the technical and social risk fields, some basic understanding of what is going on in each other’s fields is required. If scholars are aware about developments in different risk domains, better chances to dialogue, reflections and new insights into risks and resilience emerge. 

This paper is explorative and deals with the originally non-sociological concepts - risk and resilience – which have become part of the social sciences’ and environmental sociology’s terminology. In the paper the recent developments of both concepts in sociological and non-sociological fields, such as technical risk domain and resilience engineering, are charted. The aim of the paper is to reflect upon whether and how the new developments in resilience engineering (such as focus on anticipation, socio-technical systems), technical risk domain (focus on uncertainties and endeavours to see beyond the probabilities) or social sciences (focus on governance and ethical and epistemological questions) could enhance fruitful dialogue between these otherwise relatively separated fields. Are there possibilities for fruitful cross-fertilization between social sciences and other disciplines as regards risk and resilience? What could a fruitful cross-fertilization entail? Or are these domains so different from each other in terms of ontology and epistemology that it is impossible to find bridges between them? Reflections upon the concepts of risk and resilience will be linked to concrete environmental challenges, such as natural hazards and nuclear accidents.