Knowing terror: On the epistemology and rhetoric of risk

Kevin J. Ayotte, Daniel Rex Bernard, H. Dan O'Hair

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Studies of risk and crisis communication differ in a multitude of ways, such as in the objects of danger to which they turn their attention, the types of audiences they analyze and, of course, in the theoretical and methodological frameworks that drive their analyses. Barbara Reynolds' (2002) introductory training manual, Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distinguishes among crisis communication, risk communication, and crisis and emergency risk communication according to several factors such as time pressure (ranging from anticipatory to urgent) and general purpose of the respective messages (pp. 5-6). Perhaps the most obvious distinction between risk and crisis communication derives from their relative relationship to the dangerous event. Risk communication tends to consider the probability of a dangerous phenomenon (e.g., disease, environmental harm, etc.) occurring and the magnitude of such an event in terms of its impact on something a community values. Crisis communication addresses a dangerous event in progress or after it has occurred, usually to manage institutional relations with the community and/or mitigate the harmful effects of the hazard (Reynolds & Seeger, 2005, pp. 46-47), what Heath and O'Hair refer to as “risk manifested” (chapter 1, this volume). Crisis and risk communication might thus be said to differ in terms of the ontological status of the hazardous event at issue, in terms of whether the danger is merely probabilistic or has actually come into Being.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Risk and Crisis Communication
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)0203891627, 9781135597757
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009 Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Knowing terror: On the epistemology and rhetoric of risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this