Accepted Paper:

Citizen Science and Making. Questioning Professional Jurisdiction, Reinforcing Scientific Authority   

Authors:

Sascha Dickel (Johannes Gutenberg University)
Sabine Maasen (TUM School of Education)

Paper short abstract:

In our talk, we will discuss two cases of public participation: citizen science and making. While citizen science and making are questioning the jurisdictional claim of academic professions they reinforce the epistemic authority of (techno)science as a cultural practice.

Paper long abstract:

The majority of STS approaches understand public participation as a form of deliberation, in which publics are invitited to engage with critical aspects of technoscientific innovations by means of moderated discourses. More recently, STS scholars drew attention to variants of public involvement which are not realized in discursive deliberation but rather engage with science and technology in a playful and experimental manner and are typically experienced as forms of leisure.

In our talk, we will discuss two cases of such participation: citizen science and making. In both cases, practices of research and technology design are taking place outside of established institutional spaces and do not require a certified academic expertise. Hence, they might be interpreted as evidences of a blurring of boundaries between science and society and a new fragility of scientific authority.

We suggest that this interpretation is rather one sided and misses the ambivalences of these emerging practices. One the one hand, citizen science and making are questioning the jurisdictional claim of academic professions because they demonstrate that some parts of the work of (techno)scientists can also be done by people who are not members of the respective professions. One the other hand they reinforce the epistemic authority of (techno)science as a cultural practice, because they are not just examples for participatory (knowledge) production - they are also cases of science communication which aims to generate interest for science and technology and seeks to demonstrate the pleasures of science and engineering as forms of life.

Panel T073
Epistemic Regimes - Reconfiguring epistemic quality and the reconstitution of epistemic authority