Resilience at risk: Epistemological and social construction barriers to risk communication

Richard Stoffle, Jessica Minnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper is about the persistent failure of social scientists to bring into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process socially constructed environmental concerns held by potentially impacted communities. The failure to communicate perceived risks results from a two-communities divide based on both epistemological differences and obfuscation due to vernacular communication. The analysis provides robust modeling variables that can bridge this social-environmental divide. The case involves data collected from members of traditional communities regarding their perceptions of the potential impacts of proposed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The study is situated in the Bahamas where the government has approved setting aside 30 No-take MPAs to protect their sea. This analysis is based on 572 interviews conducted during eight field trips with members of six traditional settlements in the Exuma Islands and Cays in the central Bahamas. Confidence in the findings is high because the sample involves 34% of the census population of these settlements and the findings have repeatedly been returned for review and approval by the members of these settlements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Marine protected areas
  • Risk communication
  • Social impact assessment
  • Traditional communities of Bahamas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management


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