In Risk Society (1992), Ulrich Beck argues that the central social concern in 20th-

century Western nations is the rise of risk brought about by their regimes of

scientific progress and technicization. This intuition seems to be reaffirmed

almost daily as events like the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

and the meltdown of reactors at Fukushima, Japan attract media attention and

generate public debate and discourse about the risks of modern techno-industrial

society. Rhetorical scholars of science and technology have been quick to pick up

on and investigate the growing importance of risk and its consequences for

argument and communication. Carolyn Miller, for instance, has written articles

on a variety of risk topics, including how organizational communication influ-

ences risk (Herndl, Fennell, & Miller, 1991), how failures of risk communication

impede public deliberation (Katz & Miller, 1996), and how the mathematization

of risk elides ethical engagement between governing institutions and citizens

(Miller, 2003). Other rhetoric and communication scholars have written on a

range of risk topics, including nuclear accidents (Farrell & Goodnight, 1998),

mine safety (Sauer, 2003), and bioweapons (Keränen, 2011).