Disputed Dimensions of Risk: A Public School Controversy over AIDS

Analysis of court hearings in a case to prevent a child with AIDS from attending school reveals how perceptions of risk are shaped by a range of cultural, political, and institutional factors. The many actors in this ritualized verbal combat sought to control interpretations of evidence, scientific credibility, legitimacy of decision-making procedures, and the balance of rights and responsibilities. Technocratic authority may be less important than symbolic and political issues in determining acceptability of risk.

Author(s): Dorothy Nelkin; Stephen Hilgartner

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Volume 64, Issue S1 (pages 118–142)
Published in 1986