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Mixing things up: science, politics and lay knowledge

Date: 19 March 2008 Time: 1.30-5.30 pm

Meeting Room 1, Conference Centre, Lancaster University

Invited speakers:

Robert Evans (Cardiff), Katharine Farrell (UFZ, Leipzig), John Law (Lancaster), Jerry Ravetz (Oxford), Larry Reynolds (Lancaster), Bronislaw Szerszynski (Lancaster), Claire Waterton (Lancaster), Brian Wynne (Lancaster)

In recent decades many social scientists have argued that, in order for policy decisions in the area of science and technology to be robust and legitimate, they need to draw on forms of knowledge that lie outside that of accredited technical experts. For example, Funtowicz and Ravetz have proposed that problems characterised by high levels of uncertainty and high decision-stakes exceed the capacity of Kuhnian 'normal' science to provide answers, requiring a 'post-normal science' in which 'extended facts' are considered by an extended peer community. Brian Wynne has argued that publics properly draw on a wider set of hermeneutic, lifeworld judgements about technologies, such as those concerning the trustworthiness and implicit worldviews of the institutions involved. Collins and Evans agree that lay citizens can contribute to policy debates but have suggested that epistemic rigour in the construction of facts be maintained by selectively extending the epistemic community to include 'uncertified experts', leaving lay citizens to act in different, more overtly political settings. And Bruno Latour has argued for new decision-making arrangements in which modernity's founding distinction between nature and society - and thus between science and politics - is abandoned.

In this informal workshop we will explore the implications of these and other approaches to reconceptualising the relationship between politics, science and the public.

The workshop is organised by the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC) and the ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen)

Contact:

Who can attend: Anyone

 

Further information

Associated staff: Bronislaw Szerszynski

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen), Sociology

Keywords: Political theory, Politics, Public participation, Public policy, Public understanding of science, Science and technology studies

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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