Kommunikatsiooni roll riskiühiskonnas: riskide maandamise võimalikkus
My Master's thesis aimed to investigate the risk society theory (by Ulrich Beck) through the lens of communication and to find ways to help reducing proliferation of risks through meaningful communication. The task included 1) analysing the relations between communication and risk principle, 2) investigating the role of communication in a society, where contingency and uncertainty seem to spread, 3) find communication principles that might help to reduce uncertainty and contingency in the risk society. In the first part of the thesis, I described the conditions of risk society and how risks come to exist. Risk principle has become widespread in the society and is manifested through various risks, which essence is variable, open to translation and dependant on mediation. According to the risk society theory the members of the society are faced with self-produced risks and dangers involving so much unknown and contingency that it is impossible to adequately manage them or take responsibility for them. Risks are attributed to decisions, whereas dangers are attributed to external factors. In the risk society the future is growingly dependent on decision-making. Those, who decide upon and define risks are positioned in a different position than of that the affected. Risks come into being through mediation of information about risks, which gives communication the central role in the risk society. The second part consists of a more specific analysis of the processes of communication and the role communication has as the mediator of risks and as the constructor of reality, based mainly on Joost Van Loon, Scott Lash and Niklas Luhmann. Risks are manifested through communication of knowledge, which depends on the choice of the information to be transmitted. Risks' dependance on communication allows better risk perception, but also reveals the possibilities for manipulation during mediation and poses questions about the willingness and opportunities to receive mediated information. The development of media and media technology is geared towards greater speed and invisibility that makes people forget the presence of a mediator and makes it more difficult to distinguish between the message and the mediator. I conclude that due to all these aspects, communication has the potential of shaping the society towards riskiness or helps to reduce the proliferation of risks through creating more understanding. The third part argues that in order to manage risks, decision and risk mediation processes better, an open two-way communication is necessary to be developed on the basis of trust. Mediation of risks and thus the construction of reality should be geared more towards creating understanding between decision-makers and the affected, so that communication is done from the position of cooperation. This requires acknowledging living in the risk society, that risks' perception is dependent on mediation and making the conscious choice of creating meaningful communication.