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The contextual dimension of risk dialogues: the case of water recycling weblogs in South East Queensland, Australia

Publication Date
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
  • 160810 Urban Sociology And Community Studies
  • Blogs
  • Water Recycling
  • Public Acceptance
  • Risk Dialogues
  • South East Queensland
  • Australia
External links


In January 2007, the Premier of Queensland, Australia, made the controversial decision to introduce recycled water into South East Queensland’s (SEQ’s) drinking supply, igniting significant community debate. Using a Toowoombabased antirecycling weblog (blog) as a case study, this paper examines the discourse produced in relation to the water recycling proposal as a means to understand how bloggers’ risk dialogues were shaped. Using the Public Acceptability of Controversial Technologies (PACT) framework as a conceptual guide, this paper demonstrates how the political and institutional context played a significant role in influencing people’s position in relation to water recycling technologies. Specifically, through the construction of a David and Goliath-type battle between the ‘ordinary resident’ versus the ‘authorities’ (local council, government and experts), bloggers created a context whereby pro-recycling could be equated with pro-Goliath. Overall, the analysis highlights the salience of context in shaping risk dialogues about controversial technologies.

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