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Risk Anal. 2002 Apr;22(2):347-58.

Beyond perception: the experience of risk and stigma in community contexts.

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Decision Research, North Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Concerns about stigmatization are an important influence on the development of risk management and communication policies for a wide range of technologies and products such as those associated with hazardous waste storage, nuclear power, and genetic engineering of plants or foods. Although much attention has been placed on the adverse economic effects of stigma, we believe that the social, psychological, and cultural impacts are often at least as significant and merit greater attention from policymakers and researchers. Evidence for these impacts of stigma is found in recent studies of resource-based communities, whose residents may be shunned by local and nonlocal publics and whose products may suffer a loss of markets, which in turn creates social and economic hardship for community residents. We examine these aspects of stigma and link descriptions of the problem and prescriptions of recommended policies to five underlying characteristics of stigma, focusing on the possible insights and contributions from trade-off analysis and narrative approaches.


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