Calls for papers


International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management
International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management


Special Issue on: "Inclusive Risk Governance in the Enlarged EU : Challenges and Opportunities"

Guest Editors:
Silvio Funtowicz and Matthieu Craye, European Commission DG Joint Research Centre, Italy

The management of risks in the European countries has grown in complexity during the past decades, as the Union strove to meet the concerns of the various relevant actors (i.e. the public authorities, stakeholders such as industry or NGOs and affected citizens).

Activities posing risks in the areas of energy, chemical production, food and agriculture, transport, etc., have triggered a great concern after the experience of several major disasters at the European level and in the Member States. The implementation of novel technologies such as those of life and information is also facing resistance and conflict.

In order to respond to a perceived trust crisis of governance, a framework for inclusive risk governance is increasingly mentioned, together with a reflection on relevant knowledge and expertise. It requires new thinking about the nature of hazards and vulnerability, the relationship between public authorities, experts, stake-holders and citizens, and to consider how to improve the regulatory environment. Through various research activities, networking and institutional initiatives a European ‘inclusive’ risk governance culture is emerging.

The enlargement of the European Union with ten new Member States in 2004 and with another two in 2007, and the perspective of more new accessions in the coming decades, pose a specific challenge. The ‘legacy’ and the economic situation in some of the new Member States will increase pressure on this emerging risk governance culture.

The legacy of some of the new Member States’ recent political-economic history also consists of threats caused by unsafe infrastructure (including installations and working practices), institutional vulnerability and environmental and social degradation. But there is more at stake than the effective management of existing risks. A pressure for rapid economic growth in the new Member States and acceding countries, to close the gap with their other EU partners, can endanger the evolving EU strategy to maintain high levels of protection while promoting qualitative and sustainable growth.

But enlargement also presents enormous opportunities for the introduction of innovative practices. Confronted to an expanding diversity in the EU, awareness could raise of crucial aspects of risk issues that go beyond their technical definitions, paving the way for alternative more inclusive approaches.

The Special Issue specifically wants to address following two questions :

  • How to 'deepen' this turn towards more inclusive governance, i.e. make it truly 'reflexive' and not merely instrumental, and enhance its impact on EU policy making?
  • How to widen this turn, i.e. strengthening it in new Member States, that now have other priorities ('first the economy !')

It will strive for a mix of reflective papers addressing current developments in the EU and a set of case study articles specifically highlighting risk situations and experiences in new Member States.

More in detail, papers could address, but are not limited to, following topics :

  • How effective are the innovative governance practices in the EU ?

  • o (How) do established practices talk back in the proposed frameworks and initiatives towards inclusive governance?
    o How narrowly/largely are these inclusive processes framed?
    o Are (and in which ways are) institutional relations between science, society and policy making challenged in such inclusive processes?
    o How can the, until now, often 'isolated' initiatives for open and transparent deliberation, be given a more firm institutional basis?
    o What is (or can be) the link between such inclusive processes and some of the 'harder' aspects/outcomes of governance, e.g. decisions about research funding, regulation of products and processes? Can they cope successfully with the challenge of connecting the more structured, more thoroughly institutionalized practices of regulation with the softer, more 'chaotic' public debate?
  • How can EU risk governance deal with an increased cultural and socio-political diversity?

  • o Member States have their own agendas including specific concerns, priorities and assessment criteria. The diversity in terms of legislative and administrative arrangements and in monitoring culture increases. Sources of uncertainty and indeterminacy have also to be sought among institutional, administrative and socioeconomic factors, including basic assumptions, value loadings, disciplinary and practice framings.
    o What does the variety of experiences with democratic and non-democratic systems mean for the call for increased inclusion, deliberation and participation?
    o And how to deal with the increased diversity in socio-institutional arrangements for 'governance of science in society'? Member States have different arrangements for managing the interface between science and society. The role of expertise, including the management of its plurality, is an essential element in risk governance processes and is strongly influenced by these institutionalised 'science-society' arrangements.
    o In this context, can hybrid tools such as novel ICT interfaces or social multi criteria, be supporting devices to structure debate, deliberation, decision and implementation?
  • How can EU risk governance deal with the increased diversity in socio-economic situations of Member States?

  • o The current EU is a mix of slowly growing fully developed economies and economies undergoing deep transition phases. How can we implement the precautionary principle and enhance social cohesion in a context for a need for fast economic development? As some of the newer Member States undergo rapid and important changes, the related uncertainty is considerable.
    o Will Europe be confronted with even more intense controversies between risk sceptics, technological optimists and entrenched stakeholders? It can be expected the context of boosting economic growth calls for strengthening, testing and implementing the pro-active, anticipatory component of this emerging risk governance culture.
  • How can EU risk governance deal with the increased complexity of risk issues?

  • o Economic development puts increasing demands on an infrastructure that in many cases is obsolete and inadequate. Strategies for increased efficiency in the EU single market lead to ever more interdependance between critical systems. In the same time, historical liability puts the enlarged EU for a huge task. This adds up to the socio-economic, political and institutional complexity of the risk problems.

The intended readership consists of:

  • academics in disciplines as risk governance, social studies of risk, science studies, policy sciences on the environment and technological risk, etc.
  • policy makers, in administrations at Member State and EU level, dealing with risk issues in various ways: regulation, stakeholder consultation, research funding in the sectors covered.
Subject Coverage
The editors are particularly encouraging theoretical, empirical, and case study papers in the following and related areas:
Reflective chapters on EU wide developments and case study chapters on:
  • Dealing with the cultural aspects of risk governance
  • The implementation of a precautionary strategy, together with the use of foresight instruments for the anticipation of risks
  • The operationalisation of complexity and uncertainty in the context of policy making on risks
  • The deployment of new quality assessment criteria for the efficient use of scientific advice, and the role of expertise within the risk governance process
  • The experimentation of new roles and mutual trust relationships through institutional and procedural instruments
  • The development of hybrid tools combining formal and informal methods.
  • Plurality of 'governance approaches'
Sector coverage:
  • health and consumer
  • transport and energy
  • information society
  • environment
  • emerging technologies (nano, converging technologies bio-info-nano-cogno- etc.)

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors, sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers are available on the Author Guidelines page

Important Dates

Deadline for paper submission : 31 May 2007

First turn of papers review : 15 July 2007

Second turn of papers review : 30 September 2007

Final papers submission : 15 November 2007