Stine Bergersen

Peace Research Institute Oslo

Stine Bergersen
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The Interplay of Risk Perception and the Communication of Terror Threats

This project is about the communication of terror threats. How threats and risks are constructed and communicated by national authorities is of fundamental importance for how the general public perceives insecurities that they are more or less required to learn how to live with. Learning how to accept and cope with such risks can be necessary, when they are of such a character that the state can no longer guarantee the security of its citizens from them. The ominous threat posed by terrorist actors and organizations is perhaps the key example of such a risk, and the way in which this threat is being communicated is crucial for the public perception of it. The overarching question that this project will ask is: Which dilemmas do national authorities face when deciding if, how and when to inform the public about potential threats to their security, and how do they respond to those dilemmas? The project will investigate the interplay between risk perception and the communication of terror threats, by exploring the different variables that informs and constitutes risk communication. It will do so by taking as its empirical starting point, the dilemmas that emerges in decision-making processes about how, when and in which way information about terror threats should be given to the public. In order to uncover and explore such dilemmas, the project aims to answer several sub questions focusing e.g. on responsibilities and functions, the manifestation of values in the communication, and societal impacts.