Democratizing Knowledge: Sustainable and Conventional Agricultural Field Days as Divergent Democratic Forms

Science, Technology, and Human Values 33 (4):508-528 (2008)
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Abstract

This article highlights that in our rush to call for the democratization of science and expertise we must not forget to speak to what type of democratization we are calling for. In short, not all participatory forms are the same. In developing this argument, I examine one such form that has yet to receive much attention from science and technology studies scholars: the agricultural field day. In examining the field day, we find that its orientation—that is, toward either the conventional or sustainable model of agriculture—shapes significantly its democratic approach to knowledge coproduction. To help inform how we understand conventional and sustainable field days, I turned to two conceptual frameworks of participation: namely, that of Wynne and Funtowicz and Ravetz. In doing this, we find that conventional field days mirror closely that form of public participation detailed by Funtowicz and Ravetz, while sustainable field days reflect that conceptualized by Wynne.

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