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The risk/no-risk rhetoric of environmental impact assessments (EIA): The case of off-shore wind farms in Sweden

Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 627-640
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Local Environment
Volym: 13
Nummer: 7
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Carfax Publishing, Taylor & Francis Ltd


Risk is a key topic in the communication between developers of infrastructure projects, permit-granting authorities, and civil society. The nature of risk communication is contested among academics, however. Whereas some scholars conceive of risk communication as a matter of effectively communicating expert knowledge on factual matters to the public, others emphasize the role of symbolic construction and rhetoric. This article analyses how wind farm developers rhetorically construct risks in relation to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a large off-shore Wind farm project. Our analysis is inspired by the New Rhetoric, the theory of argumentation developed by Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca (1958). We suggest that the EIA adopt a dual argumentative strategy. The report associates numerous risks to the project by identifying and cataloguing them; however, these risks are also disconnected from the project by being described as nonexistent, negligible, or manageable. We discuss some implications of considering EIAs, not as accounts of reality, but as loci of production for this reality.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Risk communication
  • Sweden
  • Wind power
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • New Rhetoric
  • Environmental Planning.


  • ISSN: 1354-9839

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