Book: In the Chamber of Risks

In this book I demonstrate that case studies of risk controversies show that the instinctive response of managers to deny that risk controversy issues under discussion are significant and to insist that the parties presenting them have no business meddling in such matters are unreliable guides to effective risk management and that in all cases the opposite position is a far better guide. As risk management is inherently disputable, find public perceptions of risk should be seen as legitimate and treated as such and the public should always be involved in discussions about risk evaluations made by scientists and risk managers.

I chronicle the erratic course of risk management and communication in environmental management in Canada, recipe discussing the notable controversies that have arisen over pesticides and breast cancer, vinyl toys, genetically engineered food crops, cellular telephones, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, among many others.

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Table of Contents and Index

Book: Mad Cows and Mothers’ Milk

Communicating the nature and consequences of environmental and health risks is one of the most problematic areas of public policy in western democracies. Given the perceived risks associated with the food we eat, chemicals in the environment, and modern technologies, consumers need clear and timely explanations of the nature of those risks – but rarely get them. Using a series of case studies, Douglas Powell and William Leiss outline the crucial role of risk management in dealing with public controversies and analyse risk communication practice and malpractice to provide a set of lessons for risk managers and communicators. The Second Edition is a republication of original edition plus three new chapters.

Author: William Leiss 
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (December 2004) 
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Preface to the Second Edition
Part Three: New Perils for Risk Managers

Chapter 10:
Two Stinking Cows: The Mismanagement of BSE Risk in North America,
by William Leiss (pp. 229-61)

Chapter 11:
A Night at the Climate Casino: Canada and the Kyoto Quagmire,
by Stephen Hill & William Leiss (pp. 262-95)

Chapter 12:
Life in the Fast Lane: An Introduction to Genomics Risks,
by Michael Tyshenko & William Leiss (pp. 296-340)

Book: Under Technology’s Thumb

Author: William Leiss
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (1990-01-01)
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The publication of William Leiss’ book The Domination of Nature brought him wide recognition as a perceptive and judicious author. In this brilliant new collection of essays on the philosophy of nature, Leiss argues effectively for an attitude of caring and respect for the environment rather than one of domination.

Table of Contents and Index: PDF

Book: Domination of Nature

Author: William Leiss 
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (1994-05-01) 
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Scientists, social thinkers, public officials, and the public have been aroused by the recognition that failure to understand the destructive impact of industrial society and advanced technologies on the delicate balance of organic life in the global ecosystem may result in devastating problems for future generations. William Leiss argues that this global predicament must be understood in terms of deeply rooted attitudes towards nature. He traces the origins, development, and social consequences of an idea whose imprint is everywhere in modern thought: the idea of the domination of nature.

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Book: Risk and Responsibility

Author: William Leiss, Christina Chociolko
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (1994-07-01)

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Bitter disagreements arise over how to manage health and environmental risks. Trying to determine what is in the public interest is at the heart of these disagreements, but the core concerns of major sectors – industry, governments, and voluntary associations – are also at stake. Attempts to defuse the controversies and find solutions acceptable to all parties have met with little success.
Leiss and Chociolko show that controversies arise in part because many participants try to avoid assuming full responsibility for the consequences for the risk taking they advocate. Through documented case studios they address the difficulties of arriving at reliable scientific estimates of risk in controversial areas and the impact of this uncertainty on disagreements among different interest groups over how to manage those risks responsibly. In conclusion, they attempt to delineate conditions under which consensus on the assessment and management of environmental health risks might be achieved among a wide range of interest groups.

Table of Contents and Index: PDF

Book: C. B. Macpherson: Dilemmas of Liberalism and Socialism

Author: William Leiss
Original Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (1989-06-01)
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Canada’s pre-emininent political theorist, C.B. Macpherson won an international reputation for his controversial interpretations of liberalism.This book – the first to examine the entire range of his writings – seeks to place that interpretation of liberalism within the overall framework of his intellectual development.Focussing on two key themes property an t state – C.B. Macpherson: Dilemmas of Liberalism and Socialism tracks Macpherson’s analysis of the contradictions of liberal-democracy through all of his writings.The book concludes by exploring the usefulness of Macpherson’s important concept – that of the quasi-market society – as a way of understanding the distinctive character of contemporary industrial societies.

Table of Contents PDF

Book: The Limits to Satisfaction: An Essay on the Problem of Needs and Commodities

Author: William Leiss 
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (1988-09-01).

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Leiss draws on economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology to show the vagueness of our thought on the relation between nature and culture, desire and reason, needs and commodities. This book raises serious, vital questions for all those concerned about the future of our present society.

Table of Contents and Index: PDF

Book: Prospects and Problems in Risk Communication

Author: William Leiss (editor)
Publisher: University of Waterloo Press (1989-01-01)
Available from the Institute for Risk Research, troche U Waterloo.

The articles in this book cover a wide range of current issues in risk communication. These include: a comprehensive review of the obstacles that have been encountered in communicating risk management controversies in North America; analyses of the distinction between technical risk and perceived risk; reviews of communication case studies, cure controversies, and practices involving Canadian government departments; studies on the place of quantitative risk assessment results in effective risk communication practices; and recommendations for improving current policies and practices. The contributors are from various professions – the media, industry, government departments, consultants, and academic fields. Their treatment of these issues addresses the needs of other professionals in these areas as well as those of the public in general.