Risk Assessment as Rhetorical Practice: The Ironic Mathematics behind Terrorism, Banking, and Public Policy

Danisch, R. (2013). Risk assessment as rhetorical practice: The ironic mathematics behind terrorism, banking, and public policy. Public Understanding of Science February 2013 vol. 22 no. 2 236-251.

Abstract: The twin problems of possible terrorist attacks and a global economic recession have been, and continue to be, critical components of contemporary political culture. At the center of both problems is the assessment of future risk. To calculate the probability that a loan will default or to estimate the likelihood of an act of bioterrorism crippling an American city is to engage in the quantitative science of risk assessment. The process of risk assessment is an attempt to rationalize the uncertainty and contingency of the future. In this essay, I read risk assessments made by the Department of Homeland Security and by major banks during the recent financial collapse as examples of rhetorical practice. As such, I show the rhetorical form and function of risk assessments in order to determine the effect that they have on contemporary political culture.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted:Feb 01 2013, 12:00 AM by brendah
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