Accepted Paper:

Politics and science in the risk society: scientists perceptions of the impact of politics  


Melanie Wiber (University of New Brunswick)
Allain Barnett (University of New Brunswick)

Paper short abstract:

We interviewed scientists to evaluate the impact of the Harper government on marine risk research in Atlantic Canada.

Paper long abstract:

Recent research in the anthropology of science have expanded our understanding of the political influences on science. Natural science research on environmental risk in Canada now involves multiple parties, including provincial and federal government agencies, communities, environmental NGOs and market certification organizations. Little is known about if and how these approaches to natural science are changing scientific information about anthropogenic risk. In this paper, we focus on a significant "black box" controversy, the impact of aquaculture on commercial fishing, in order to examine the networks that steer decision-making about research into risk, and ultimately about resource use. Based on interviews of a variety of scientists and non-scientists involved in marine research, this paper explores the impact of government on recognizing, assessing and mitigating the diverse threats that result from human actions on the environment. Many barriers relate to epistemological or methodological issues, others relate to power, control and legal mandates.

Panel LL-AS08
Values and risk: the politics of knowledge in the living marine oceanscapes