We are all concerned by the environmental threats facing us today. Environmental issues are a major area of concern for policy makers, industrialists and public groups of many different kinds. While science seems central to our understanding of such threats, the statements of scientists are increasingly open to challenge in this area. Meanwhile, citizens may find themselves labelled as "ignorant" in environmental matters. In Citizen Science Alan Irwin provides a much needed route through the fraught relationship between science, the public (...) and the environmental threat. (shrink)
Misunderstanding Science? offers a challenging new perspective on the public understanding of science. In so doing, it also challenges existing ideas of the nature of science and its relationships with society. Its analysis and case presentation are highly relevant to current concerns over the uptake, authority, and effectiveness of science as expressed, for example, in areas such as education, medical/health practice, risk and the environment, technological innovation. Based on several in-depth case-studies, and informed theoretically by the sociology of scientific knowledge, (...) the book shows how the public understanding of science questions raises issues of the epistemic commitments and institutional structures which constitute modern science. It suggests that many of the inadequacies in the social integration and uptake of science might be overcome if modern scientific institutions were more reflexive and open about the implicit normative commitments embedded in scientific cultures. (shrink)
How might social theory, public understanding of science and science policy best inform one another? What have been the key features of science-society relations in the modern world? How are we to re-think science-society relations in the context of globalization, hybridity and changing patterns of governance? This topical and unique book draws together the three key perspectives on science-society relations: public understanding of science, scientific and public governance, and social theory. The book presents a series of case studies (including the (...) debates on genetically modified foods and the AIDS movement in the USA) to discuss critically the ways in which social theorists, social scientists, and science policy makers deal with science-society relations. ‘Science' and 'society' combine in many complex ways. Concepts such as citizenship, expertise, governance, democracy and the public need to be re-thought in the context of contemporary concerns with globalization and hybridity. A radical new approach is developed and the notion of ethno-epistemic assemblage is used to articulate a new series of questions for the theorization, empirical study and politics of science-society relations. (shrink)
Whilst public engagement in decisions concerning science and technology is widely extolled, research shows that the application of deliberative democratic theory remains – at least in Europe – highly constrained. Science and technology policy requires closer attention to the wider context of governance and the compatibility of public deliberation with established modes of policy-making.
This article addresses issues of regulatory convergence and Europeanization as they have developed within the agrochemicals sector. Taking the United Kingdom as a case study, the article considers the continuing importance of local and national factors within systems that are ostensibly international and standardized. In particular, the article shows how the embedded social relations of regulatory science in the United Kingdom, including institutional practices, judgments of expertise, and established relationships of trust, result in a “nation centeredness” and divergence of regulatory (...) cultures despite the putative development of a harmonized European framework. It is argued that, as a consequence, the claimed universalism of scientific culture in this area is in tension with the local conditions of its practice and enactment. (shrink)