Citizens' assessment of risk as determined by dominant discourses and broader social, cultural and historical forces


Second, any comprehensive discussion about disasters must take into account the processes of social construction of risks, where the news media play an important role. Disaster and disaster-related narratives are often created, "fabricated" or "manufactured" in the social sphere as "moral dangers" and "social problems", with key variables such as knowledge, ideology, power, and domination (Kitzinger, 1999; Lupton, 1993; Short, 1984; Tierney, 1999). Citizens usually rank and assess risks related to the dangers and hazards in accordance with dominant discourse(s) and broader social, cultural, and historical forces, and not according to objective knowledge and rational calculation (although the citizens “popular” or folk knowledge on the territory where they live can be relevant; WMO, 2016). The very definitions and understandings of natural and/or social risks of disasters are heavily dependent on the social context, i.e. on social structures and power relations in a given society.

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