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What are we missing, what do we take for granted? Disruption and reconfiguration of public participation in science and technology studies 
Iñaki Goñi (University of Edinburgh)
Eugenia Rodrigues (University of Edinburgh)
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Eugenia Rodrigues (University of Edinburgh)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel interrogates the extent to which the taken-for-granted ideas and self-imposed limitations of this field are being shaken, and, in so doing, asks whether processes of reconfiguration have already started to emerge.

Long Abstract:

Public participation in science and technology is a research topic that has systematically grown over the years. As Bucchi and Trench document in their 2017 article "Science Communication and Science in Society: A Conceptual Review in Ten Keywords", the development of this topic has been followed by the adherence to and critique of specific language and concepts, such as "engagement", "scientific cultures" or "expertise". This apparent commitment to an established lexicon has implications. As Bauer, Allum and Miller (2007) noted, it operates as a marker of “tribal identity”. Yet, in the process of constituting STS’s “tribal” or collective identity within this field, there is, potentially, the loss of some vitality, a diminished inclination to scrutinize and challenge long-standing assumptions, along with the exclusion of possible new lines of enquiry. There is a difference between creating a temporary consensus and constructing a canon.

In this open panel, we aim to start a discussion that disrupts the ‘state of the art’ in public participation in STS. Possible questions to be examined in this panel include: what have STS researchers excluded from the field (e.g.: education, tarnished by the association with the deficit model?), and what has risen to the peak in the current idiom of public participation (e.g. is co-production taken as a marker of high-quality participation?). Moreover, are there other, possibly uninvited, ‘intrusions’ that are further disturbing our stable assumptions? For example, where and how to place and make sense of the incredibly fast-paced, expanded AI-enhanced modes of citizen participation?

Potential topics for the session are:

• Taken-for-granted and overlooked concepts in participation

• New ideas to open up participation

• Radical, emergent or transformative ideas/cases in participation

• Questions and provocations to challenge the canon

• Cases/ideas highlighting the understated, "uncool", non-innovative aspects of participation

Accepted papers:

Session 1