Die politische Psychologie des Risikos : Die Bedeutung von Politik für die Konstruktion und Wahrnehmung von Risiken im 21. Jahrhundert

Ausgehend von der Definition von Risiko als Wahrscheinlichkeit der Realisation eines negativen Ereignisses stellt dieser Artikel die These vor, dass Politik an mehreren Stellen für die Konstruktion und Wahrnehmung von Risiken von entscheidender Bedeutung ist.

In this article, we explore the value of political psychology in the interdisciplinary field of risk research with empirical examples from Germany. Starting from the definition of risk as a probability of the realization of a negative event, we argue that politics and policies are of crucial importance in the construction and perception of risks on different levels. First, politics – in interrelation with the media – directly affect how voters perceive the probabilities of an undesirable event happening. Second, exogenous shocks can lead to drastic shifts in public opinion, which can change the democratic majority for certain policies. Third, voters differ in their personal risk attitudes. The degree of personal risk aversion directly and indirectly affects the distribution of preferences for policies and policy makers. The perspective of political psychology in particular provides us with heuristics and determinants which explain individual risk assessments and risk attitudes. These include among others the degree of habituation to the risk source, its potential for catastrophic outcomes or the impression of the reversibility of its consequences. Furthermore, the characteristics of the risk situation itself influence how risks are perceived, for example the extent of personal control over the risk, the individual willingness to take the risk or the confidence in the political risk management to control or mitigate negative outcomes. Therefore, the processes of risk perception and the formation of risk attitudes are seen as heterogeneous and context-dependent.

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