Communicating Risk in the Digital Age (DIGICOM)

Led by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert
Feb 2014 - Feb 2018



DIGICOM takes digitalisation as a central object of study in order to better grasp how new forms of risk communication affect societal security. It explores the way in which risk communicators in different environments, such as authorities, news media and social media, interact with one another. This risk communication will be examined in relation to specific types of risk events that are of relevance for preparedness in Norway, such as natural disasters, terrorism and cyber-attacks. DIGICOM formulates a concrete end-user-oriented policy roadmap for risk communication in a digital age. 

​Terrorism, natural disasters and cyber-attacks are characteristic risks of our time. However, distributing information about such risks is increasingly complex. This lies not only in the progressively complex nature of risks, but also in the way that risk communication has evolved.

Risk communication comprises a range of processes, from collecting, processing and analyzing information about risks, to the dissemination of risk information to different audiences. Taken together, these risk communication processes contribute to determining what is in fact considered as a risk, and participate in the construction of a society's understanding of its own security.

Yet, because of rapid developments in communication technology and a general digitalisation of information, the function of risk communication has recently undergone comprehensive changes. The way information is constituted, verified, legitimated and transmitted has become more instantaneous and diffuse. Whereas a decade ago news media and governmental bodies could consider themselves the sole actors in shaping how threats and crises were understood and dealt with, new actors and new communication technologies have changed this picture in ways we as yet do not fully understand.

The assurance of discrete and verifiable sources of information, a pillar of modern democratic governance, is confronted by new and increasingly varied sources of information. The rise of participatory and social media allows for new modes of defining and exchanging information about risk, and offers platforms to various actors and communicators.

By mobilising partners from Norway, Europe and North America, DIGICOM will explore the hypothesis that digitalisation, the integration of digital technologies into everyday life, has not only impacted risk communication, but that is still tranforming it. DIGICOM focusses on the promises and pitfalls of the digitalisation of risk communication.

DIGICOM is a research project, funded by the Research Council of Norway. DIGICOM started in February 2014 and will last until February 2018. In the course of this period, 9 articles and 6 policy briefs will be published. These will be presented at 3 academic seminars, 4 breakfast briefings, 3 end user forum meetings and a final conference, at which a policy roadmap will be presented. These events and publications will be announced on this website.

The project will be executed in collaboration with the following partners:
UiO - Universitetet i Oslo
VUB - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
University of Quebec in Montreal
University of Westminster
The Engine Room Foundation

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Research Groups


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Lidén, Kristoffer (2022) A better foundation for national security? The ethics of national risk assessments in the Nordic region, Cooperation and Conflict. DOI: 10.1177/00108367211068877.
Wilson, Chris & Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert (2018) The new informatics of pandemic response: humanitarian technology, efficiency, and the subtle retreat of national agency, Journal of International Humanitarian Action 3(8): 1–13.
Bergersen, Stine (2018) Communicating Risk: A Case Study on the 2014 Terror Alert in Norway, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political. DOI: 10.1177/0304375418770300.
Trottier, Daniel (2017) Digital Vigilantism as Weaponisation of Visibility, Philosophy & Technology 30(1): 55–72.
Rasmussen, Joel & Øyvind Ihlen (2017) Risk, Crisis, and Social Media A systematic review of seven years’ research, Nordicom Review 38(2).
Kaufmann, Mareile & Julien Jeandesboz (2016) Politics and 'the digital': From singularity to specificity, European Journal of Social Theory. DOI: 10.1177/1368431016677976: 1–20.
Amicelle, Anthony & Elida K. U. Jacobsen (2016) The cross-colonization of finance and security through lists: Banking policing in the UK and India, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34(1): 89–106.
Rasmussen, Joel (2015) ‘Should each of us take over the role as watcher?’ Attitudes on Twitter towards the 2014 Norwegian terror alert, Journal of Multicultural Discourses 10(2): 197–213.

Book Chapter

Bellanova, Rocco & Gloria González Fuster (2018) No (Big) Data, No Fiction? Thinking Surveillance With/Against Netflix, in Sætnan, Ann Rudinow; Ingrid Schneider; & Nicola Green, eds, The Politics and Policies of Big Data: Big Data Big Brother?. London: Routledge (227–246).

Conference Paper

Lidén, Kristoffer (2017) Security, critique and normative orders, presented at Contemporary conditions of critique: power, value(s), economy, PhD Course, Research School on Peace and Conflict, PRIO, Oslo, Norway, 22 September.
Lidén, Kristoffer (2017) The Politics of Public Risk Communication in Norway, presented at Studying Nordic Societal Security: Threat- or Risk-Based Discourses? 16-17 November, Graduate School of International Studies, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden, 17 November.
Lidén, Kristoffer (2017) National Risk Assessments and the Politics of Public Risk Communication, presented at Communicating Risk in the Digital Age: Dilemmas and Opportunities Presented to Authorities and the Public, PRIO, Oslo, 6 December.
Lidén, Kristoffer (2015) What ‘society’ must be defended? The ethics of societal security in Norway, presented at Worlds of Violence: 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, European International Studies Association, Giardini Naxos, Sicily, Italy , 26 September.

PRIO Policy Brief

Jumbert, Maria Gabrielsen; Rocco Bellanova & Raphaël Gellert (2018) Smart Phones for Refugees: Tools for Survival, or Surveillance?, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Lidén, Kristoffer (2017) National Risk Assessments and the Politics of Public Risk Communication, PRIO Policy Brief, 7. Oslo: PRIO.
Bergersen, Stine (2017) Why Communicate Terror Threats to the Public?, PRIO Policy Brief, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Rasmussen , Joel & Øyvind Ihlen (2015) Lessons from Norwegian Emergency Authorities’ Use of Social Media, PRIO Policy Brief, 14. Oslo: PRIO.

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