Irwin, Alan6; Jensen, Torben Elgaard4; Kevin E, Jones8
1 Department of Learning and Philosophy, The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, VBN2 The Techno-Anthropology Research Group, The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, VBN3 Center for Design, Innovation and Sustainable Transitions, The Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University, VBN4 The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, VBN5 Aalborg University Copenhagen, The Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, VBN6 Institut for Organisation7 University of Alberta8 University of Alberta
Criticizing engagement practice
Criticism seems to be a recurring and significant characteristic of public engagement exercises – as reflected both in general political discussion and in the academic literature on public engagement with science. This article suggests that rather than being a distraction from the main business of ‘technical democracy’, criticism lies at the heart of public engagement and in that way should be seen not simply as an unwelcome and unanticipated by-product but rather as a key constituent. Taking inspiration from previous science and technology studies’ treatments of ‘bottom line’ moves and also from Boltanski and Thévenot’s sociology of critical capacity, this article adopts an approach to radical critique that explores its ‘dynamic-yet-patterned’ character. Building upon a ‘translation’ model, but also a framework taken from the martial arts, a reconstruction is offered of one empirical study of lay membership on scientific advisory committees. Conclusions are drawn concerning not only the analysis of critical dialogue around engagement but also the implications for democratic practice.
Social Studies of Science, 2013, Vol 43, Issue 1, p. 118-135
public engagement with science; technical democracy; criticism; sociology of justification; Actor-Network Theory; science and technology studies; techno-anthropology; Criticism and Critique; Lay Membership; Public Engagement With Science; Sociology of Justification; Technical Democracy