Managing uncertainty: forest professionals’ claim and epistemic authority in the face of societal and climate change
2015 (English)In: Risk Management: An International Journal, ISSN 1460-3799, E-ISSN 1743-4637, Vol. 17, no 3, 145-164 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
How do professional experts develop advice in the face of uncertainty? The background for this question is that uncertainties threaten all forms of expertise because they risk calling the professional claim into question and undermine the professional’s epistemic authority. Adopting a multidimensional concept of uncertainty as its point of departure, this paper focuses on how a specific category of experts – forest professionals – encounter and cope with uncertainty in their counselling activities, particularly uncertainty related to climate change. The empirical material consists of an interview study of publicly employed forest consultants in Sweden. The analysis identifies seven strategies that are applied to cope with uncertainties. The findings indicate that a multidimensional concept of uncertainty can explain why cognitive uncertainty is more easily managed than other types of uncertainty. Moreover, uncertainty may not be a central obstacle to offering advice; rather it can be actively used to gain authority and influence action.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Vol. 17, no 3, 145-164 p.
Expertise, epistemic authority, professional claim, uncertainty, forestry
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46430DOI: 10.1057/rm.2015.10ISI: 000364257500001ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84946088655OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-46430DiVA: diva2:867890
FunderMistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
Umeå University2015-11-072015-11-072015-11-27Bibliographically approved