Risk Controversies Visualized

The development of internet based argumentation maps

logo_risikokartierungInitiated by Dr. Cordula Kropp (Münchner Projektgruppe für Sozialforschung), Dr. Stefan Böschen und Dr. Jens Soentgen (Wissenschaftszentrum Umwelt der Universität Augsburg).

The intention of the project is the development of a prototype for an internet based representation of risk-related controversies and argumentation maps. This prototype fulfills three functions: a) data base administration of character elements und risk-related controversies; b) internet based surface/user interface to the perspective construction of argumentation maps; c) road junctions with punch-through on relevant reference texts (e.g. subject articles).

The development is carried out in five milestones: 1) implementation of base processes; 2) construction of knowledge cards for three fields of systemic risks (nanoscale materials, food addition means and electrosmog) in which discourse-analytic procedures are implemented to determine site profiles/topology for the mapping; 3) optimisation of the tool; 4) on-road-test of the tool with acteurs of administration and general public; 5) risk knowledge mapping in comparison to other forms of risk communication (e.g. policy reports). The prototype arises in the context of an interdisciplinary cooperation of computer scientists, sociological scientists and practice partners. Thereby practice relevance is increased and the practice transfer facilitated, supported by workshops.

In the context of the project the Environment Science Center (WZU) will participate in the development of the prototype as well as take over the content management of the mapping and operate the case study to the nanoscale materials.

The application for the project was allowed by the Federal Department of Education and Research (BMBF) in autumn 2005. Processing starts in December 2005. The aim of the project is planned to be achieved in December 2008.

The project is integrated in BMBF's promotion activities focus "Sozialökologische Forschung", subject area "Strategies for Handling Systemic Risks". In the project we work together with the Münchner Projektgruppe für Sozialforschung (MPS). For the development of an applicable software tool there exists a close cooperation with the Software and Consulting GmbH (SouCon). This company, located in Karlsruhe, developes user-specific technological solutions for Industry and Science since 1999.

In order to guarantee a problem-oriented analysis of the case studies and an adequate practice transfer, cooperations are arranged with some practice partners as the World Environment Center (WEC), DIALOGIK, International Risk Governance Council (IRGC, Genf), Münchner Rück AG (München), Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Umwelt (Dept. Forschungskoordination und Risikoanalyse, Erlangen).

Finally the science project is connected with the international network of "Cartography of Scientific Controversies" under the leadership of Prof. Bruno Latour (École des Mines, Paris) and Dr. Warren Sack (UC Berkeley, and will be further established in the "Galerie der Forschung" at the Austrian Academy of Sciences unter the leadership of Dr. Albena Yaneva. [Flyer Risikokonflikte]

Project Staff Environmental Science Center (WZU):
Project Management: Dr. Stefan Böschen, Dr. Jens Soentgen
Martina Erlemann
Dr. Simon Meissner

Project Staff MPS:
Project Management: Dr. Cordula Kropp
Gerald Beck
Astrid Engel