Citizen Science and Scientific Citizenship

Speaker: Prof Alan Irwin # Copenhagen Business School - CBS; Speaker: Dr Eugenia Rodrigues # STIS and CSCS network, University of Edinburgh; Introduced by: Prof Steve Yearley # STIS, University of Edinburgh

19th Nov 2015

15:00 - 16:30

University of Edinburgh, Room 1.06, Old Surgeons' Hall (High School Yards)

In 1995, Alan Irwin published Citizen Science - A Study of People, Expertise and Sustainable Development, which advanced a notion of citizen science underpinned by the theoretical questions of STS and environmental sociology. Twenty years on, citizen science has become a well-established 'movement' with an array of values, strategies and exemplars associated with it. In this seminar we take advantage of Alan's visit to Edinburgh to examine where we are now in terms of citizen science. What are people really talking about when they invoke the idea of citizen science? And what are the differences between the citizen science initiatives that we see around us today and the vision for citizen science that Alan Irwin proposed – what does this mean for STS and for the way that relationships between citizens and science are imagined in contemporary governance?

Chair and introduction: Steve Yearley, STIS

Eugénia Rodrigues, STIS & CSCS network: 'Citizens' and 'science' in contemporary initiatives in citizen science

Short summary: Attempts to 'make sense' of the wide, complex and multifaceted world of citizen science and crowdsourcing have become more frequent as initiatives have gained traction, become popular and entered the worlds of public bodies, bodies which saw in citizen science an opportunity to meet their obligations around public participation. These attempts have taken various forms including the development of typologies, classifications or self- and/or external-regulation (with the purpose of encouraging 'best practice', for instance). In this presentation my aim is to 'go back to the basics'. I will be arguing that, to make sense of citizen science from a social sciences point of view, we need to take both the 'citizen' and the 'science' as discrete units of analysis, to interrogate meanings, epistemologies and practices. This exercise of separation and differentiation will facilitate the emergence of a new understanding of citizen science(s) that will, hopefully, reunite both elements.

Alan Irwin, Copenhagen Business School:  Citizen science and scientific citizenship: same words, different meanings?

Short summary: This paper sets out to explore the relationship between the fast-developing phenomenon of citizen science and larger debates over the meaning of 'scientific citizenship'. Are these terms essentially synonyms or do they point in different directions? Along the way, I hope to throw some critical light both on the citizen science movement(s) and on the possibilities for the democratic governance of science and technology.

In more specific terms, I will start with a discussion of the different meanings of citizen science, drawing especially upon the two keynote presentations at this year's Citizen Science Association conference (held in San Jose). These contrasting interpretations of 'citizen science in practice' allow a consideration of the various models and categorisations of citizen science before we turn to the relationship between citizen science, scientific citizenship and sociotechnical futures. At this point, we can ask two key questions. To what extent is citizen science facilitating the wider development of scientific citizenship? How could citizen science facilitate such a wider development?

Short Bio:

Alan Irwin is a Professor in the Department of Organization at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and also the CBS Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Before joining CBS in 2007, he was Professor of Science and Technology Policy, and Dean of Social and Environmental Studies, at the University of Liverpool. His PhD is from the University of Manchester and he has held previous appointments at Manchester and at Brunel University. He is a member of the Strategy Advisory Board for the UK Global Food Security Programme and of the Advisory Board for the European Citizen Science Association. Alan Irwin has published over a number of years on issues of science and technology policy, scientific governance, environmental sociology and science-public relations.