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Science, Public Engagement, Citizenship in the 21 e Century Bernard Schiele CIRST/IRCST-UQAM Pretoria, 11 March 2015 Public engagement for good governance:

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Presentation on theme: "Science, Public Engagement, Citizenship in the 21 e Century Bernard Schiele CIRST/IRCST-UQAM Pretoria, 11 March 2015 Public engagement for good governance:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Science, Public Engagement, Citizenship in the 21 e Century Bernard Schiele CIRST/IRCST-UQAM Pretoria, 11 March 2015 Public engagement for good governance: the role of the Humanities HSD Research Seminar Serie

2 A SHORT HISTORICAL BACKGROUND : undisputable science 1) The development of the atomic bomb during WW2 was the watershed moment that revealed to all the transformative power of the scientists’ knowledge 2) 1972 (1995) Office of the Technology Assessment (OTA) 3) Mission: analyze public policy issues having significant and technological components 4)The OTA contributed to a triple democratization process : -by including laypersons in its proceedings -by making its reports easily understandable to laypersons -by making its reports easily accessible

3 A SHORT HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1980-today : environment and mobilization 1) The growing importance of environmental issues will contribute to the consolidation of the PE movement 2) Some of the methods developed in the 1980s and 1990s are now used in the context of nanotech, biotech, GMOs and so on Two questions: - What is public engagement, also called public participation ? 2) - Who is the public when we refer to this concept ?

4 PARADIGM CHANGE Beyond the deficit model 1) From the 1990s on, attempts are made to go beyond the deficit models, putting a new emphasis on two-way communication between scientists and the public that goes 2) Beyond the mere transmission of scientific knowledge the issue moved from the mastery of scientific knowledge to the exercise of democratic rights

5 PARADIGM CHANGE Understanding this paradigm change : some food for thought 1) The global impact of science and technology upon society, environment, labor structures, and daily life today is such that no one can remain indifferent. 2) In parallel – and probably as a result – we observe a legitimacy crisis of authority figures, including science 3) The pervasiveness of communication technologies results in a constant flux of information

6 THE ORIGINS OF PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT Understanding this paradigm change : some food for thought 1) Now, every researcher has his own area of expertise and the research he or she conducts is far removed from daily life 2) The society we live in is often called complex, in reference to the growing reciprocal interdependency of individuals of which no one and no regrouping can successfully claim to be its center 3) It must be stressed that these transformations leads to the equality of interlocutors and to the reciprocity of their exchanges, but also to greater transparency, since it is the conjunction of these three factors that make the success of participation and engagement possible

7 CHANGING THE REFERENCE FRAME (Goffman) From passive knowledge to active knowledge Heterogeneity : Publics not public Archipelago : Sciences not science Complexity : Increasing interdependence Competence : People are experts, scientists are some sort of experts Situation : Learning takes place within a context Equality : Learning is facilitated by reciprocal relations

8 RELATIONSHIPDEFICIT PARADIGM One way communication ENGAGEMENT PARADIGM Two way communication InterrelationAsymmetric Symmetric InterpersonalCompel Collaborate InteractionAuthorityEqual rights ConditionDependenceAutonomy BehaviorSubmission Reciprocity PersonalityUndifferentiated Differentiated KnowledgeTransferMutualize

9 MODES OF PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT Modes promoting dialogue They range from «information transmission to information exchange or critical dialogue» (Einsiedel 2014) E.g. : science cafés, town hall meetings, festivals, some exhibitions and online discussions

10 MODES OF PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT Modes promoting engagement They focus on deliberative processes between citizens in order to reach a decision. Some see in it a renewal of democracy in the form of deliberative democracy, against the shortcomings of representative democracies as practiced by most institutions worldwide. Thus, it is the adaptation of a political theory to science and technology communication. E.g. : consensus conference, deliberative polling, scenario workshop, citizens jury and upstream engagement

11 MODES OF PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT Modes of knowledge coproduction They bring together amateur volunteers known as citizen scientists and professional scientists on research projects in order to produce new knowledge. This process takes part in the wider transformation of knowledge production which is increasingly object-oriented, and for this reason, transdisciplinary. This research is often conducted by teams of digitally interconnected members operating from different localities E.g. : science shops and citizen production


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