Science, society and sustainability case study
A 3000-word essay style report that documents and critically analyses an intervention or proposed solution for improving relations between science and society in the
You are required to focus down on a particular case study of an intervention/proposal of your own choosing. Your case can be drawn from one of the three main parts of
the module, or it may be a case that links all three. For example, considering the 3 parts of the module, it could focus on:
i. a proposed solution to make science and technology more reflective of its social and ethical implications and responsive to the needs and concerns of society
(e.g. a technology assessment process, an interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists and social scientists in the laboratory, an organizational culture change
initiative, efforts to improve science advisory processes);
ii. a proposed solution to improve societal and public engagement with science and technology-related issues (e.g. attempts at science communication, public
dialogue, deliberation, citizen science, participatory appraisal, user-led or ‘grassroots’ innovation);
iii. A proposed solution to build approaches for reflexive governance of science and sustainability (e.g. experiments in anticipatory governance, responsible
innovation, adaptive co-management, and so on).
Given the broad potential scope of sustainability-related issues, you are advised to select a case and proposed solution that is situated within particular issue-area
covered in the module (e.g. climate change, energy, natural hazards, emerging technologies). The intervention/solution that forms the focus of your essay may take the
form of an existing case example drawn for the academic or grey literature, or it could be proposed solution to a science and society problem that you yourself develop
and propose. Either way, your essay should include the following sections:
• An introduction to the case study area and the specific science-and-society problem being addressed.
• A description of the intervention/solution for improving relations between science and society including:
o Description of the background and design of the intervention/solution
o Justification of its selection and importance (why you chose this case, on this particular issue)
o Identification of the purpose of the intervention and the theoretical arguments that underpin it.
• A critical analysis of the intervention/proposed solution including an assessment its strengths (benefits) and weaknesses (problems) that draws on and
evaluates it from the different three theoretical perspectives introduced in the module. (This critical analysis should form the main part of your report in terms of
length of the essay produced).
Here are some case study examples from blog, you can look at them to help you find your case study topic. But the final essay must follow the roles as above mentioned.
Nature: the case for open access
On the 2nd of December 2014 science journal Nature announced plans to introduce free article access as part of a one-year trial scheme. Nature, established in 1869 has
been at the forefront of scientific research for many years and has published many notable research papers including Dolly, the first cloned sheep and the first
sequencing of the human genome.
According to the announcement by Macmillan Science (Nature‘s publisher) the trial will allow subscribers to 49 of the journals on nature.com including Nature
Neuroscience and Nature Physics to share the full-text of articles of interest with colleagues or friends who do not have a subscription. Future plans outline the
inclusion of features such as commenting and highlighting to allow more functionality. In addition, 100 media outlets and blogs throughout the world who report on the
findings of papers published in Nature will be able to provide their readers with a link to a full read-only text.
Annette Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Science and Education described the initiative as “a real solution to the global problem of how to efficiently and legitimately share
scientific research for the benefit of all”; but despite the initial appeal of this new, open-access system it still has many flaws.
The initiative makes use of new platform ReadCube (who Macmillan incidentally have a majority share in) but anyone without a direct link from a subscriber is still
unable to view papers. Even with a link the PDF can be seen on screen but still cannot be printed, copied or downloaded – limiting even the most basic re-use. The new
initiative has already been labelled as beggar access, with many people seeing it as purely a PR stunt. Nature group have announced plans to provide annotation tools,
but is this simply a way to deter from the fundamental fact that it still can’t be printed? And is this a step-back for open access?
This new initiative could be a result of increasing pressure from research funders to make papers more accessible. The announcement will come as great news to
interactionists such as Wilsdon and Willis (2004) who support the interactive perspective on relations between science and society, which calls for more a more open
relationship between science and society. The open-access nature of Nature articles will allow citizens to better understand science, therefore filling the
information-deficit model and perhaps allowing citizens to better contribute to science.
The co-productionist point of view however says that sharing scientific knowledge can be beneficial, but only if it is not wholly science centered. Wynne (2006)
outlined a deficit model assumption whereby (in this case) it is assumed that increasing access to scientific journals will improve scientific knowledge among the
public. This deficit model could apply when releasing Nature articles to the public; the scientific jargon could hinder rather than make progress in terms of the
science-society interface as people may not understand. This view can also be adopted by the traditionalists who argue that science and society should be kept
Michael Esin argues that it still doesn’t target the real problem – the subscription model. Nature are not giving up anything. Readers of news stories about Nature
articles have no intention to pay for access and people that already subscribe will not give up their subscriptions for the chance of having a link shared with them.
Pay-per-view approach already trialled and failed. Nature rightly point out that file sharing between scientists is already happening, but is “often in hidden corners
of the internet”. Nature are therefore not changing the ability to share Nature but instead they are changing where people access it from, perhaps with a long-term aim
of increasing profit through this new platform.
On the surface this new initiative seems like a step in the right direction but whether or not it will be beneficial in the long-term or not is unknown. Nature
currently rejects 90% of submissions, this begs the question are the papers being printed the ones the public would actually be interested in? The success of the
initiative is anyone’s guess but I feel that it will have very limited application in the real world due to the limited user interface. Furthermore, Nature will be
tracking the identities of the papers shared and the subscribers who shared them to keep an eye out for misuse; why should we punish people for providing others with
Wilsdon, J., and Willis, R., 2004. See-through Science: why public engagement needs to move upstream. London: Demos.
Wynne, B., 2006. Public engagement as a means of restoring public trust in science – Hitting the notes, but missing the music? Community Genetics, 9(3), 211–220.
GM Nation 2003: A poorly executed attempt at public debate
In 2003, the UK government decided to hold an open debate on the future of GM crops in the UK. The first debate of its kind, this was a welcome change and promised to
bring about a new form of public participation within decision-making. What followed though was a series of pivotal mistakes and assumptions by the government that led
to the failure of the debate.
From the interactionist perspective, any form of public debate on important new technology such as this would be seen favourably. For new technologies to be widely
accepted, public dialogue is seen as key, as well as timing and provision of information, through a deliberate form of governance (Wilsdon & Willis 2004). However,
interactionists would be disappointed in the framing and inclusion the debate ultimately had. The lack of representativeness caused by the first come first serve sign
up for debates meant self-selecting participants who were already interested in the GM debate were the only involved, with many having predetermined negative views
towards it. Moreover, despite the public debate suggesting equal weighting of science and society, the economics report was published 7 days before the end of
discussion while the science review 3 days after. Economic, science and public opinions being constructed as separate repressed any possibility of transparent public
engagement in the technical analysis, or of discussion reflecting on technical issues raised by the science (Irwin 2006). Additionally, the experiences of Monsanto and
their infamously coined “terminator gene” show that real deliberative governance was either significantly lacking or non-existent. Without the government providing
deliberative participation, activists took control of the situation themselves, using media and corporate alliances to force Monsanto to back down (Jasanoff 2003). If
it was a truly deliberative model, this situation would likely not have taken place, with all members of society feeling equally represented and participating.
The Co-productionist would note however that all public debate is to an extent exclusionary when trying to be representative. It would be argued that there is such a
wide variety of public views on GM that it would likely never be fully represented. Like the interactive perspective, they would also be critical of the narrow framing
of the debate, which could have created a distributed dialogue that would have allowed a wide range of public groups to voice their concerns. Furthermore, the
separation of the science and public reports shows a lack of transparency, which leads public to distrust the goals decision makers claimed to want. Irwin (2006) notes
that the public already had widespread mistrust of both the government and large companies involved. With ministers not stating how the collected debate results would
be used, they further pushed the public away, a crucial failure of this debate from the co-productionist perspective. Looking beyond the debate itself though, despite
its narrow framing (that the interactive perspective attributes to its failures), co-productionist recognises that in spite of this, it did promote understanding of
interactions with the public on controversial issues, particularly highlighting the importance of transparency in facilitating the introduction of emerging technology
(Frewera et al. 2004).
In truth, it appears that the GM debate was an attempt at engaging the public to enhance connections between science and society in an deliberative capacity, but from
a government with somewhat confused traditionalist values. Minster’s failing to state how the data would be used is traditionalist in the sense it does not want to
involve the public in upper decision-making, with the debate acting more as a way to avert an attack on institutional and epistemic commitments (Wynne 2003). The main
debate was also packed into the end of the process and in essence was too late to make any real change to the research into GM or commitments of the key players, with
the good science and research given preference over the public emotional response. Likewise, this aligns with “DAD” (decide, announce and defend), as public opinion
was given little room to have any influence on implementation. Notably, GM food had already been introduced to the market. Traditionalists could argue that as the
product is already present, good science must have prevailed, with the debate having little use.
Despite the government’s best intentions, this partially deliberative debate’s poor structure, timing and clarity ultimately led to its failure. However, this was the
first attempt from a UK government at modernizing the relationship between science and society. Therefore, the failure should perhaps be viewed more as a learning
curve for Decision makers on the complex issue of public debate.
Frewera L, Lassen J, Kettlitz B, Scholderer J, Beekman V, Berdal K. (2004). Societal aspects of genetically modified foods. Food and Chemical Toxicology . 42 (1),
Jasanoff S. (2003). Technologies of humility: citizen participation in governing science. Minerva. 41 (3), 223-244.
Irwin A. (2006). The Politics of Talk: Coming to Terms with the ‘New’ Scientific Governance. Social Studies of Science. 36 (2), 299–320.
Lean G. (2015). The EU might finally be close to a grand bargain on GM crops. Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/11336028/The-EU-might-
finally-be-close-to-a-grand-bargain-on-GM-crops.html. Last accessed 19/02/2015.
Wilsdon J & Willis R. (2004). See-through Science: why public engagement needs to move upstream. London: Demos.
Wynne B (2003) ‘Seasick on the Third Wave? Subverting the Hegemony of Propositionalism’, Social Studies of Science 33(3): 401–17.
The Future of Our Food: why shared visions are fundamental to progress
With the global human population set to reach 9.6 billion people by the year 2050, and much of this increase expected to occur in the developing world (UN, 2013), it
is widely acknowledged that one of the most pressing questions of the 21st Century is how best to increase agricultural production and ensure global food security in
the face of increasing environmental pressures from issues such as climate change.
The use of genetically-modified (GM) crops – ‘enhanced’ by moving genetic material from the cells of one organism to those of another in order to create more
productive crop varieties, e.g. resistant to disease and drought – has been proposed by science as a prospective solution to this issue. However, GM crops have caused
great controversy amongst wider society due to their ‘unnatural’ qualities, the uncertainties associated with their production and consumption, and fears about the
potential monopolisation of the food market by GM corporations (such as Monsanto).
The unimpeded early scientific development of GM technology and subsequent societal reaction gives weight to the theory that science operates under self-defined
assumptions and expectations about the social world and about what is ‘best’ for society – without input from outside actors – and these imagined visions then
significantly shape research trajectories and outputs.
This also reflects a historically ‘two-track’ approach to managing technology in society, whereby science develops and promotes technologies and wider society is left
to control and regulate the impacts (Rip et al., 1995). The ‘imagined publics’ that science assumes do not necessarily reflect reality (Macnaghten et al., 2005).
Therefore, it would seem to make more sense for science to engage in open communication with actual publics during the early development of technologies, practising
‘real-time’ technology assessment in order to assess the social and ethical implications of its work sooner rather than later. Indeed, it has been argued that science
of greater value and usefulness to society could be generated through such early cooperation and assessment (Guston & Sarewitz, 2002).
Previous attempts to include wider society in the GM discussion have been of questionable success. The GM Nation debate of 2003 which took place across the UK
attempted to identify the spectrum of public views on the issue, with the aim of providing meaningful information to government. However, the debate has been
criticised for not having enough time or funding to reach a level of publicity required for true representativeness, and there is a sense that the processes involved
were more of a token gesture of consultation than a true partnership between science and society.
A pertinent question may be whether we actually need GM technology to ensure food security? The GM Nation debate paid little attention to alternative solutions such as
reducing food waste, or more innovative options such as vertical farming. By considering the GM issue within such a limited perspectival context we may inadvertently
place greater emphasis on the need for GM than is the reality.
Whatever the future of our food production, one thing is for sure: given the fundamental importance of the issue to human well-being, there is a need to involve wider
society in open dialogue about the options for progress.
The traditionalist perspective of science assumes a ‘deficit model’ of the public – arguing that non-scientists are not knowledgeable or rational enough to be able to
make meaningful contributions to the debate, and such work should be left to science. However it is evident that publics are diverse in nature and hold valuable
lay/experiential knowledge, and thus such generalised perceptions are distorted.
Ultimately, to successfully move forward with the debate surrounding the future of our food, a combination of approaches advocated by the three theoretical
perspectives is required. Explicit and straightforward provision of information and scientific knowledge regarding the ‘problem’ and the options for solving it is
certainly needed (a traditionalist idea); so that we are all debating from informed perspectives. Additionally, effective deliberative processes are required that will
take seriously the informed views of diverse publics, facilitating genuine representation and providing delegated power to society in influencing decisions about how
to proceed (an Interactivist idea). Importantly however, in order to truly achieve forward progress we need shared understandings of the situation and co-produced
visions and imaginaries about the kind of future we wish to create around sustainable food production; so that our goals are clear, our options for achieving those
goals are objectively assessed (with holistic societal well-being as the motivating factor), and our decisions will be truly consensual simply because they represent
the most objectively effective course of action.
Seeing where we are, establishing where we want to be, and doing what truly works to get us there – together.
Guston, D. and Sarewitz, D., (2002). ‘Real-time technology assessment’. Technology in Society, 24, pp.93–109.
Macnaghten, P., Kearnes, M. and Wynne, B., (2005). ‘Nanotechnology, governance, and public deliberation: What role for the social sciences?’ Science Communication, 27
Rip, A., Misa, J. and Schot, J., (1995). Managing Technology in Society: The approach of constructive technology assessment. London: Pinter.
UN (United Nations), (2013). World population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. [online]Available at: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/un-
Medmerry managed realignment scheme
With the increase of the ‘one in a thousand year’ floods in and around the south coast, the yearly cost of rebuilding the shingle beach at Medmerry was increasing, in
monetary forms, and in life, as one worker sadly died whilst working in his machine. This tragedy pushed the Environment Agency to produce a flood realignment scheme,
involving the building of 7km of sea wall inland and then breaching the shingle beach, allowing the sea in. This not only directly protected a water treatment works,
951 homes and 2 caravan parks but indirectly helped protect land around Portsmouth and Southampton also. It also lead to the creation of an important wetland area for
wading birds in order to combat the loss of similar habitat around the solent, as instructed by the EU.
The Medmerry Stakeholder Advisory group was set up as the scheme was being suggested, with the aim of collecting a group of local interested parties to help plan and
manage the scheme. This included the Selsey Town Council, Sussex Ornithological Society, Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Local farmers, Manhood Cycleways Network, West
Sussex County Council, Chichester District Council, Save Our Selsey, Parish Councils, Wildfowlers, Ham Residents association and the RSPB. They were told how they
could influence the: Location and design of banks, Emergency access , footpath routes and other recreational enhancements, Construction access routes and use of site
before / during construction, Decisions about drainage and planning decisions.
From an interactionist view, this is a great success with the use of local knowledge and people influencing some of the final decisions, affirming the local
populations right to have a democratic say in the scheme. It fulfilled the level of communication that interactionists expect from a public dialogue sessions, and
assumed that they have some fairly advanced knowledge of the local flood risk, possibly due to the previous floods experienced. There is little idea of the traditional
‘deficit model’, in this case and it highly follows the thought that ‘Society has important roles to play in framing the issues, co-producing knowledge, and
participating in decision making and action.’ However, the two meetings may not be enough as after the development of the project there is a cut-off of communication
between the two parties.
The Environment Agency clearly stated in their meetings however, that the public would not influence the Strategic recommendation for managed realignment, Timing for
the design, planning and construction process, the location of the breach in the shingle bank and method of breach, the standard of protection and habitat Coastal
processes, currents and geology impacting on the design. A co-productionist would be disappointed that the stakeholders didn’t get a say in these items as it would
assumed they didn’t have enough knowledge of the general science behind these factors. It gives a projected view of the plan and limits what the public can change,
where ideally the project would be co-suggested and co-planned by both the Environment Agency and the stakeholders.
In conclusion it is a step in the right direction and gives the right impression of working with society to plan a project and get their input and not assuming a
traditionalist idealism that the public have no working knowledge of the flood issues. However, a co-productionist would want this to go one stage further, and not
have the scheme projected to them after already being planned with the option of small changes, but the planning to start involving society at the beginning stages.
Citizen Science: Bringing the Public into the Equation
Citizen Science is not just a modern environmental and biological concept with the lay public across the globe, for hundreds or even over a thousand years, collecting
data from the surrounding environment. From the flowering of the Cherry Blossom trees since the 8th century in Japan or the study of phenology in the UK (begun by the
‘founding-father’ Robert Marsham in the 18th century) there has a been a continuous fascination, from non-scientists, concerning the scientific processes in the
Recently there has been a growth in members of the public partaking in citizen science projects/ activities as a result of social media outlets and affordable
technologies, such as handheld GPS devices or even free smart phone apps. This results in swift and effortless data collection that could literally be just be a touch
screen tap away. Projects such as ‘The Big Garden Bird Watch’ (RSPB) in the UK, Weather Detective’ (ABC Science; University of Southern Queensland) in Australia or
‘WildlifeLog.org’ ,which is a global citizen science venture, have increased in popularity.
It is therefore seen that citizen science is of key importance in creating long-term data sets that can be used by government and scientific affiliates. You can go as
far as to say that citizen science provides a ‘watch-dog’ service.
With the public getting involved in scientific research monitoring can be a useful tool in regards to early detection of issues of environmental concern where data
collected can be used by experts within the science field (Whitelaw et al., 2003; Conrad and Daoust, 2008).
However from a traditionalist perspective the contribution of citizen science should not be allowed to have input within scientific journals and most certainly should
not be involved in policy making in regards to environmental issues. Conrad and Hichley (2011) comment that a traditionalist will see a citizen science study as one
that is lacking in experimental design and are created too haphazardly without consideration of any issues within the data collection, such as sample size.
Traditionalists would argue that the level of scientific training and experience of the volunteers, contributing in citizen science projects, is questionable as
inaccuracies within the data collection can lead to corrupt and create false data sets, as well as ones that are non-comparable or are not complete.
Scientists and government officials are then faced with the predicament of judging whether such public collected data can be credible and authentic. Therefore
according to Gouveua et al. (2004) and Bradshaw (2003) data collected from citizen science studies are discredited and are not taken seriously by decision makers and
are largely discounted from academic journal or government documents. For instance in 1994 the US congress excluded data that had been collected by volunteers in the
National Biological Survey due to officials questioning the lay people’s “environmental agenda” (Root and Alpert, 1994). This furthers the traditionalists’ argument as
to what is the point of citizen science when the data that is collected by volunteers anyway is discounted by policymakers and does this further discourage lay people
from “pure” science? Surely it is a waste of people’s time/money/energy?
However from an Interactionist and Co-productionist perspective they will view that citizen science is making a positive contribution to the scientific community, as
Carr (2004) says that “it is inappropriate to leave (environmental) science solely to institutions and that community science is necessary” (p.842).
The inclusion of the public to scientific studies makes science more accessible to these individuals, playing an important educational role within a community as by
active participation within a scientific project increases scientific literacy . Citizens involved in such citizen science projects are more likely to be engaged in
local issues, have more of an influence on policy-makers in regards to environmental issues and are also more likely to encourage sustainable communities (Whitelaw et
al., 2003; Pollock and Whitelaw, 2005). These studies will also help to eliminate any distrust that the public has in regards to local scientific intervention.
Scientists can also benefit from citizen science according to Interactionist and Co-productionist views. For instance scientists are made aware of local knowledge and
expertise and therefore a community can help provide valuable information in regards to data collection and such studies can sample a wide geographic area quickly at a
relatively low cost in comparison to a professional research team being used (UNEP, 2014).
Increasingly citizen science projects are becoming more accurate, through basic training and are thus being used in more academic papers.
Examples of Current Citizen Science Projects :
The Big Garden Bird Watch. RSPB. Available at: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
Nature’s Calendar Survey. The Woodland Trust. Available at: http://www.naturescalendar.org.uk/research/phenology.htm
Weather Detective. ABC Science. Available at: http://www.weatherdetective.net.au/
WildlifeLog.org. Available at: http://www.wildlifelog.org/
Bradshaw, B. (2003). Questioning the credibility and capacity of community-based resource management. The Canadian Geographer, 47, 137–150.
Carr, A. J. L. (2004). Why do we all need community science. Society and Natural Resources, 17, 841–849
Conrad, C.C. and Hilchey, K.G. (2011). A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities. Environmental Monitoring and
Assessment, 176 (1-4), 273-291.
Gouveia, C., Fonseca, A., Camara, A., & Ferrira, F. (2004). Promoting the use of environmental data collected by concerned citizens through information and
communication technologies. Journal of Environmental Management, 71, 135–154.
Pollock, R. M. & Whitelaw, G. S. (2005). Communitybased monitoring in support of local sustainability. Local Environment, 10, 211–228
Royle, J. A. (2004). Modeling abundance index data from anuran calling surveys. Conservation Biology, 18, 1378–1385
Tweddle, J.C., Robinson, L.D., Pocock, M.J.O. & Roy, H.E. (2012). Guide to citizen science: developing, implementing and evaluating citizen science to study
biodiversity and the environment in the UK. Natural History Museum and NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology for UK-EOF. [Online] Available at: www.ukeof.org.uk .
UNEP. 2014. Realizing the Potential of Citizen Science. [Online] Available at: www.unep.org/yearbook/2014/PDF/chapt6.pdf
Whitelaw, G., Vaughan, H., Craig, B., & Atkinson, D. (2003). Establishing the Canadian Community Monitoring Network. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 88, 409–
A Dialogue on Sciencewise and Geoengineering
With climate change at the forefront of both national and international negotiations it is becoming an ever pressing issue…but is anything actually being done to
mitigate or adapt to the inevitable impacts that we will be facing as soon as in 5 years’ time?
It always seems that the COP meetings are ending with little progress being made on reaching a binding agreement to reduce emissions. Will this stagnant lack of
progress require us to take drastic action and being field trials into viable geoengineering options? Additionally, the IPCC is now discussing geoengineering as a
possible strategy for aiding in the mitigation of climate change. If research bodies such as the IPCC are discussing the need for further research and looking upon it
as a very real possibility, surely it is imperative that discussions with the public about geoengineering in general begin taking place today. I also think it is
important that these discussion take place without them being about on-going projects or potential project as the public should have a right to say where science
research should lead.
Either way, Sciencewise have gone out into the public and start collecting public opinions concerning geoengineering in their project A Public Dialogue on
They investigate the way in which the general public view both types of geoengineering, solar radiation management which aims to reflect more sunlight away from the
earth (e.g. Mercer et al., 2011), and carbon dioxide removal which will reduce the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere by removing it from the air (e.g. Wigley, 2006).
The aim of their study is to:
• Better understand public perceptions and opinions of geoengineering research,
• To inform the development of geoengineering research in NERC’s strategy, based on public opinions and views,
• To identify areas of particular concern about geoengineering, and to ensure new research takes into account the need and concerns society has on this topic,
• To increase public awareness of the possible implications of geoengineering through dissemination,
• To inform policy-makers of the outcomes of this study, to help inform policy-making in this area,
• To identify what other information the public require on this topic.
As an organisation, Sciencewise implement an interactive perspective within their projects and move away from the traditional perspective which is normally utilised
within science and research, and that is great to see movement away from the narrow and dominant perspective. This movement is clearly illustrated in their project
aims when they invite the public to “inform the development of geoengineering research”, demonstrating the ideology of socially shaped innovation (Funtowicz and
Ravetz, 1993) which is key in the interactive perspective of science. I think it is key that this research is done, as it has the possibility to influence the way in
which future research is framed and carried out – a key concept in both the interaction and co-productionist perspectives of science.
However, I think it is really important that Sciencewise begin to move toward a more co-productionist approach to controversial science innovation, such as
geoengineering, as illustrated by Jack Stilgoe and other STS scholars in their paper on Responsible Innovation (for more information on responsible innovation Jack
Stilgoe discusses the concept further in his blog). In example, previous geoengineering projects have been cancelled due to public and research council concern
surrounding the governing strategies and environmental impacts. Had this project been approached in a co-productionist manner, possible through the use of Responsible
Innovation as Stilgoe suggests, these issues would have been tackled and dealt with at the start as concerns would have been heard sooner (for more information on the
project there is a very handy website). It is clear more work like ‘A Public Dialogue on Geoengineering’ is necessary within this area of science as it will impact
everyone, and that means that everyone should have a say right? But how do you get meaningful global consent? If you have any ideas please let me know!
Funtowicz, S.O., and Ravetz, J.R., 1993. Science for the post-normal age. Futures, 25(7), 739-755.
Mercer, A.M., Keith, D.W., and Sharp, J.D., 2011. Public Understanding of Solar Radiation Management. Environmental Research Letters, 6(4).
Sciencewise, 2010. A Public Dialogue on Geoengineering [pdf] Available at: http://www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/assets/Uploads/Publications/SWGeoengineering-FINAL03-
2012.pdf. [Accessed 20/02/2015].
SPICE., 2012. The SPICE Project. [online] Available at: http://www.spice.ac.uk/. [Accessed 20/02/15].
Stilgoe, J., 2014. Responsible Research and Innovation in Action. Responsible Innovation, [blog] 16 September, Available at https://jackstilgoe.wordpress.com/.
Stilgoe, J., Owen, R., and Macnaghten, P., 2013. Developing a Framework for Responsible Innovation. Research Policy, 42(9), 1568-1580.
Wigley, T.M.L., 2006. A Combined Mitigation/Geoengineering Approach to Climate Stabilization. Science Magazine, 314(5798), 452-454.
here are some key readings for the Three perspectives on science, society & sustainability. And a table can show those perspectives will be provided.
• Sismondo, S. (2010) An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies. Second Edition. London: Wiley-Blackwell. [Chapters 1, 2, 5, 6]
• Leach, M., Scoones, I. and Stirling, A. (2010) Dynamic Sustainabilities: Technology, Environment, Social Justice. London: Earthscan. [Chapters 1-3]
• Jasanoff, S. (Ed.) (2004). States of Knowledge: The Co-production of Science and Social Order. Abingdon: Routledge. [Chapters 1 and 2]
• Jasanoff, S. and B. Wynne (1998) ‘Science and decisionmaking’. In S. Rayner and E. Malone (Eds.) Human Choice and Climate Change: Volume 1 The Societal Framework.
Washington, DC: Battelle Press, pp.1-87.
• Funtowicz, S. and Ravetz, J.R. (1993) ‘Science for the post-normal age’, Futures, 25(7): 739-755.
• Hulme, M. (2009) Why we disagree about climate change: understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Chapter 3]
Three perspectives on (relations between) science and society
1. Traditional/Linear 2. Interactive 3. Co-productionist
Shorthand Science as objective, value-free, truth Co-production as ‘making things together’ Science is social – everything is coproduced
General standpoint Science is separate from society and
discovers objective value-free
representations (truths) of an externally
Science, politics and society are distinct
systems that are increasingly connecting
up and interacting to produce knowledge
and actions together.
Science, politics and society are inherently
intertwined and mutually constructed, thus
“the ways in which we know and represent
the world (both nature and society) are
inseparable from the ways in which we
choose to live in it” (Jasanoff, 2004: 2).
View of science “Science is a formal activity that creates
and accumulates knowledge by directly
confronting the natural world” (Sismondo,
2010). Its systematic/replicable method
allows scientists to agree on truths about
the natural world. ‘Good science’ remains
uncontaminated by social values.
Science and technology is becoming more
open to society and public values through
new forms of trans/interdisciplinary
working and the incorporation of
‘extended facts’ and ‘extended peer
Science is a social practice and value-laden.
Scientific knowledge/artifacts are constructed
through scientists assembling material and
social elements. Science is shaped by – and
shapes – society and politics. All science has
social implications, and an assumed social
and political order.
View of society Assumes a ‘deficit model’ of the public
who are viewed as lacking knowledge and
as irrational when it comes to issues of
science and the environment. Wider
society has little or no role to play in
issues deemed to be technical in nature.
Publics have high levels of ‘situated’ lay or
experiential knowledge on sustainability
issues. Society has important roles to play
in framing the issues, coproducing
knowledge, and participating in decisionmaking/
action. The views of individuals in
society can be represented/aggregated
through participatory processes.
Society and ‘the public’ does not exist in a
natural state waiting to be discovered.
Publics, participation, and the issues at stake
are co-produced through practices of public
engagement. Publics are heterogeneous,
diverse & emergent. Civil society mobilizes
around ‘matters of concern’ that go beyond
scientific framings of problems.
View of governance A ‘linear model’ of the relation between
knowledge-action – or science (facts) and
politics (values) – whereby “science
speaks truth to power”. Centralised,
closed, command and control, expert-led
modes of governance equating to ‘DAD’
(Decide Announce Defend) or ‘TINA’
(There Is No Alternative!) formations.
The ‘new governance’ – i.e. more open,
iterative and inclusive models of
governance (analytic-deliberative) that
create spaces for public and stakeholder
involvement in all stages of decisionmaking
processes. Introduces a new
linear model of “speaking ‘public truths’ to
Emphasises ‘reflexive governance’ that is
adaptive, responsive, open & anticipatory
about emergent systemic (natural and social)
complexities and uncertainties. Reflexive
about how framing preconditions and one’s
own situation shapes governance actions.
Promotes mapping & responding to diverse,
distributed, marginalized knowledges/actions.
Science Society Science Society Society
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