Candlin & Mynard ePublishing: encouraging, exploring, enabling
Communicating Risk in Systems, Communities, Organisations, and Professions
Dr Arthur Stuart Firkins is an international risk communication consultant within communities, professions and organisations. He holds professional qualifications in education form the University of Technology, Sydney and a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics from Macquarie University Sydney. Moreover Arthur Studied for his PhD under Prof. Chris Candlin in the area of Risk Communication which focused on systems and organisations. Arthur has an abundance of practical experience having worked in the civil service in Australia as well as in international education in different parts of Australia, Hong Kong, Malta (EU), Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Brunei. He has also worked for SEAMO, the South East Asian Ministry of Education. Arthur has applied risk communication across a number of fields including child protection, health, for training midwives, for the environment, and also in mental health, social care, law and finance and within systems such as schools and health care extending through to fields that include military purposes in both the public and private sectors. He recently worked for BAE Systems in the Middle East. He co-edited (with Jonathan Crichton and Christopher Candlin) Communicating Risk published by Palgrave McMillan / Springer. The present series extends the discourse and communicative approach taken in this book.
About the Series
Issues of RISK are foundational to people’s lives in contemporary societies, a fact sharply highlighted by the recent history of inter-relational practices associated with the financial markets, Covid 19 and international security. The business and economic world has increasingly been concentrating on the management of a portfolio of desperate risks, while the management of risk has also become the focus of the activity of government, particularly for health and social policy, where the communication of risk occurs as a crucial component of daily work In essence risk is the defining construct of the modern age.
Exploring such issues is central to our understanding of how professional practice impacts on human relationships in social life. We live in a world described by Beck (1986/1992, 1999; and by Giddens, 1997) as a ‘RISK society.’ It was the overarching argument of the Risk Communication book (2016) that much of the existing risk communication research up till then was dominated by attempts to reconcile the differences in how risk is defined, analysed and communicated through attempting to understand why the ‘less’ informed public do not agree with the better informed ‘experts.’
Hence the Risk Communication book took the position that RISK is not simply concerned with the identification of ‘hazards,’ in its negative projection and ‘opportunities’ in its positive projection, but is also implicated in issues of power, (essentially, who exercises it and who challenges it), categorisation (how RISKS are categorised and given priorities), and distribution (how RISKS are distributed through a community and how such distribution is controlled). RISK can be a stimulus for positive change, as agents may adapt their behaviour positively or change their behaviour to avoid a hazard. Accordingly, the book addressed both positive and negative views of RISK.
The Risk Communication book emphasised how it is increasingly imperative to understand how different ‘societal members’ define, analyse and communicate risk to a range of increasingly diverse audiences, and for what purposes. That is to say that risk communication has increasingly become a rhetorical activity and the accomplishment of such activity across a wide range of professional fields is fundamentally embedded in discourse.
Despite the emphasis placed by many theorists on the rational and relational nature of RISK, what is significantly absent in sociologically, organisationally, and social psychologically-informed studies seeking to define, categorise, and appraise RISK, especially within Systems, Communities, Organisations and Professions, is a focus on how such RISK is discursively and jointly constructed through interpersonal interaction employing various modalities and in particular contexts of use.
The Risk Communication Book served to fill a gap as relatively few studies which have engaged in interpretive studies of accounts of the interactional accomplishment of RISK have been limited to few and single domains and sites, rarely drawing on discourse data, and not explicitly seeking the inter-domain and inter-site perspective we intend for this volume. RISK here emerges, not as restricted to particular disciplinary formulations or theoretical orientations, but as multiply interpretable, depending on the particular locations, research orientations and modes of collaboration between and among participants, and between them and researchers.
By taking this approach, the Series: Communicating Risk in Systems, Communities, Organisations, and Professions as a whole seeks to enrich and explore the potential of RISK as an overarching theme informing applied linguistic and discourse analytical research.
Risk is ultimately discoursed and it is therefore it is essential that there is further work that emerges from the Risk Communication book that contributes to the understanding of how risk is discoursed. The series extends the mental model approaches and communicative emphasis laid out in the Communicating Risk volume and further extend this to specific sites which will become a focus of each book making up the series. The series centrally positions RISK as premised on communication in interaction, highlighting the following key characteristics:
Contributions to the series
To address this discursive construction of RISK, we will encourage contributors to explore how the theme of RISK is salient to their particular theme, locations and research orientations.
The series will distinguish RISK from semantically allied terms such as DANGER or HAZARD and will encompass both external and manufactured RISK, risk perception, RISK as understood from particular cultural perspectives and RISK as understood from particular institutional memberships. Further, we will particularly ask contributors to indicate and emphasise any practical consequences of research into RISK, in terms of systemic interventions, policy change and interpersonal mentoring.
The sites which each book will focus on may typically involve inter- or intra-professional encounters in particular professions and organisations, whether or not engaging lay-persons, such as those associated with:
Each book making up the the series will demonstrate how different modes of research engagement by researchers and participants illuminate the focus theme. Each book will focus on a selected site will be represented by one or more chapters in which authors report on how they have explored the central theme of RISK by means of distinct but related discourse analytical methodologies.
Accordingly, each book should:
Moreover each book will emphasise:
Crichton, J., Candlin, C. N., & Firkins, A. S. (Eds.). (2016). Communicating risk. Springer.
Each ebook will:
Possible contributions to the series could include books on:
Prospective authors should contact the series editor giving a brief overview of their focus area. Depending on the scope, we will then provide a proposal form and solicit further details and sample material.
Topics should be well-researched and scholarly in nature, yet written in accessible and engaging style, involving the reader in issues in the risk communication context. Like all the Candlin & Mynard books, they are there to help readers encourage, explore and enable their thinking and practice.