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Discourse and the framing of risk
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:52 authored by Arthur Stuart Firkins
This thesis applies frame analysis (Goffman, 1974; Gumperz, 1982) to the understanding of how risk situations are framed through discourse. It focuses on four professional research sites predominately concerned with risk communication. The thesis develops an understanding of contextualist (social-cultural) theories of risk and pairs this with discourse - interactional approaches to explore how situations of risk are framed though the written accounts of institutional members. Frame analysis is further developed as a method for systematically making sense of discourse complexity, and utilized to understand how the institutional member has aligned situational and cultural frames to construct the account. The thesis both identifies and focuses its analysis on critical moments in the communication of risk, drawing on written as opposed to spoken accounts. Specifically, the thesis suggests that institutional members use the resources of discourse to render visible the 'risk situation at hand' and in so doing frame a particular view of risk which aims to steer action in particular directions. In addition, the thesis argues that institutional members foreground particular 'framing devices' that serve to both attenuate or amplify risk aspects of situations The study of written accounts of risk, it is argued, offers risk communicators insights into how institutional members construe risk within given contexts of situation as they seek to both anchor and align the situation to influence the actions of community members.