The Baltic Region

2020 Vol. 12 №2

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Effective risk communication as a factor in managing protests attitudes in a local community



Contemporary research into the perception of environmental risks suffers from poor knowledge of risk communication in the local community and of how different ways of risk communication affect protest attitudes. This study aims to clarify communication strategies and practices used by members of local communities as a protest response to environmental threats. The work builds on the cultural theory developed by Douglas, Dake, Bremen, and others. This theory distinguishes between several cultural types (hierarchism, individualism, communitarianism, and egalitarianism), which differ in how environmental risks are perceived and what forms risk communication takes. The study investigates the case of the village of Nivenskoe in Russia’s Kaliningrad region where residents opposed the development of a potassium salt deposit. It is concluded that egalitarians and communitarians are more likely than hierarchists and individualists to participate in protests when a serious environmental threat arises. Respondents of all cultural types tend to trust information coming from their close social network, public figures, and environmentalists whereas people of business are trusted the least.