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La production d'un instrument générique de gouvernement. Le « livre rouge » de l'analyse des risques

Abstract : The objective of this article is to understand how risk analysis, as a framework for science-based decision-making, became a generic tool of government. How have its typical categories and procedures, which emerged in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s and were formalized in a series of expert reports, among which the well-known “Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process”, or Red Book, of the National Research Council, came to be used for such a wide spectrum of health and environmental issues (from nuclear technology to nanotechnologies, passing by food additives, industrial chemicals or genetically modified plants), in a wide variety of national and transnational institutional contexts, up to this day? The paper studies the series of attempts to formalize risk analysis in the 70s and 80s, with particular attention to the key steps of the development of the Red Book. It shows that genericness is an inherent property of the tool, owing to the kind of knowledge on which it is founded, and the highly proceduralized, portable forms it took. However, the paper also demonstrates that such properties are the product of recurrent public risk controversies, which created added challenges to the experts’ task of carrying out risk assessment in order to rationalize decision making. This forced them to move towards performing less mechanical and prescriptive forms of assessment.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 10:33:20 AM
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Soraya Boudia, D Demortain. La production d'un instrument générique de gouvernement. Le « livre rouge » de l'analyse des risques. Gouvernement & action publique, Presses de sciences po, 2014, 3 (3), pp.33-53. ⟨10.3917/gap.143.0033⟩. ⟨hal-03478941⟩



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