Takes a firsthand look at a case of public participation in environmental policy.
Participation and Power examines the ways in which citizens are allowed to participate in environmental policy decision making. Despite requirements that mandate public participation, institutional practices and current models of public participation often exclude citizens from anything other than a superficial role. W. Michele Simmons offers a firsthand look at risk communication and public participation practices through a case study involving the disposal of VX nerve agent. Arguing that a rhetoric for civic discourse in policy debates is needed, she constructs a theory of democratic and ethical public involvement that grants citizens more power in the decision-making process.
W. Michele Simmons is Assistant Professor of English at Miami University in Ohio.
"Simmons forges a strong claim for the greater value and potential of meaningful dialogue in risk communication." — Bill Karis, coeditor of Technical Communication, Deliberative Rhetoric, and Environmental Discourse: Connections and Directions
"Not only is the problem of risk communication relevant, but the use of both rhetorical and technical communication theory makes the approach to the problems in risk communication seem solvable. Further, the question of actual public participation in risk communication should be of interest to scholars and practitioners beyond the immediate field of technical and scientific communication." — Robert R. Johnson, author of User-Centered Technology: A Rhetorical Theory for Computers and Other Mundane Artifacts