Analytics for local knowledge: exploring a community’s experience of risk

Raul Lejano, Daniel Stokols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In privileging expert risk assessments, we may be failing to recognize the authenticity of a community’s actual experience of risk. We should remind ourselves that expert measures are always only partial, often surrogate, estimates of such experience and, at times, may fail to capture the actual nature of risk. There is a need for modes of analysis that allow better description of risk as experienced by community. We develop and test the methods for exploring hitherto delegitimized modes of knowing risk. In this exploratory research, narrative-linguistic analysis and cognitive mapping were used to evaluate the experience of residents near a large, municipal landfill. Text was analyzed, in part using speech-act theory. These methods aspire to thick description, as opposed experts' thin description of risk, and add to the analytical tools at our disposal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • environmental justice
  • local knowledge
  • phenomenology
  • Risk analysis
  • speech-act theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management

Cite this