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Legitimacy Disputes and Social Amplification of Perceived Risk
Unformatted Document Text:  Legitimacy & Social Amplification of Risk Perceptions     2   not only seek for more information via news media and the Internet but they also raise questions for conflicting expert views, dispute legitimacy of authorities’ public relations, and spread unidentified rumors through blogs and social networking sites, which often increases more uncertainty and intensifies the perceptions about the risk. This phenomenon is called the amplification of risk (Kasperson et al., 1988; Lewis & Tyshenko, 2009). Public health risk communication scholars have observed this phenomenon of amplification of risk in diverse public health risk cases such as avian flu (Young, Norman, & Humphreys, 2008), SARS (Berry, Wharf-Higgins, & Naylor, 2007), and BSE (Lewis & Tyshenko, 2009). In the light of the current lack of risk communication research on this topic, this study explores how online publics’ assessment of perceived risk has changed in relation to the their legitimacy disputes in the case of the 2008 U.S. beef import controversy in South Korea. Changing Nature of Risk Communication for Public Health Risk Risk communication over the past three decades have observed a significant change in the emphasis of focal communication strategies (see Fischhoff, 1995). The classic model of public health-related risk communication was that an authoritative and unambiguous message would bring about behavioral change (Krimsky, 2007). However, the contemporary model of public health communication facilitates the process in which publics use their voice to address their concerns and to build agenda collaboratively. In this process, the public debate, argument, and participation are fundamental to the contemporary public health risk management (Wallack, Dorfman, Jernigan, & Themba, 1993).

Authors: Lim, Joon Soo., Mun, Kwansik. and Yang, Sung-Un.
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Legitimacy & Social Amplification of Risk Perceptions   
 
 
2  
not only seek for more information via news media and the Internet but they also raise 
questions for conflicting expert views, dispute legitimacy of authorities’ public relations, 
and spread unidentified rumors through blogs and social networking sites, which often 
increases more uncertainty and intensifies the perceptions about the risk. This 
phenomenon is called the amplification of risk (Kasperson et al., 1988; Lewis & 
Tyshenko, 2009). Public health risk communication scholars have observed this 
phenomenon of amplification of risk in diverse public health risk cases such as avian flu 
(Young, Norman, & Humphreys, 2008), SARS (Berry, Wharf-Higgins, & Naylor, 2007), 
and BSE (Lewis & Tyshenko, 2009). 
In the light of the current lack of risk communication research on this topic, this 
study explores how online publics’ assessment of perceived risk has changed in relation 
to the their legitimacy disputes in the case of the 2008 U.S. beef import controversy in 
South Korea. 
Changing Nature of Risk Communication for Public Health Risk 
Risk communication over the past three decades have observed a significant 
change in the emphasis of focal communication strategies (see Fischhoff, 1995). The 
classic model of public health-related risk communication was that an authoritative and 
unambiguous message would bring about behavioral change (Krimsky, 2007). However, 
the contemporary model of public health communication facilitates the process in which 
publics use their voice to address their concerns and to build agenda collaboratively. In 
this process, the public debate, argument, and participation are fundamental to the 
contemporary public health risk management (Wallack, Dorfman, Jernigan, & Themba, 
1993). 


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