Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting, October 2007

НазваниеSociety for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting, October 2007
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Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting, October 2007

1.1 The Local/Global Politics of Regenerative Medicine

Organizer/chair: Herbert Gottweis University of Vienna Catherine Waldby University of Syndey

During the last decade, regenerative medicine has become a highly contested socio/political/scientific field. In particular advances in stem cell research have led to world-wide patterns of conflict and controversy. At the same time, regenerative medicine has become become the topic of comprehensive state research support and regulation. The proposed session looks comparatively at regenerative medicine as an emerging scientific-technolgical field, and its political economy and emerging regulatory patterns. In particular the tens ions between global and regional tendencies in reseach policy and regulation will be in the focus of this session.

Catherine Waldby University of Sydney

Regenerative Medicine and the Global Tissue Economy

Many of the disciplines involved in regenerative medicine rely on female reproductive biology and donated tissues (embryos, oöcytes, cord blood), placing a heavy onus on female populations as donors. While embryo donation and circulation for stem cell research is generally well governed, both oöcytes and cord blood circulate in unregulated markets in many parts of the world, with little scrutiny or social control. This paper will focus on the possible impacts of Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) on the existing global market for reproductive oöcytes, and suggest some ways to improve both global governance and the protection, security and power of oöcyte vendors.

Melinda Cooper University of East Anglia

The Politics of Regenerative Medicine in China: Global, National and Local


his paper analyses the political dynamics that have shaped regenerative medicine in contemporary China, focusing on the interaction between political and economic forces at different levels: global, national and local. These dynamics form the basis for a political economy ana lysis that can explain the motivations underlying Chinese investment in the science and technology of regenerative medicine, as well as the broader (strategic) policy framework for developing regenerative medicine and exploiting its commercial potential. China has made major investments and significant progress towards developing cutting-edge research in regenerative medicine. Based on documentary and interview evidence, I argue this investment is best understood as part of China's developmental strategy for its economy, not as part of healthcare policy. (China's investment in regenerative medicine contrasts with the lack of public investment in China's healthcare system: the system has deteriorated to crisis point, with a growing proportion of the population unable to access basic services.) This developmental strategy is driven by the interaction between global, national and local political economies: China's national government is developing a "national innovation system" as a strategic response to competitive pressure from the global economy and China's powerful provincial governments have done likewise, investing in their own "regional innovation systems", competing with each other and with other high-technology regions around the world. Regenerative medicine plays a central role in this developmental strategy because, as a new area of technology, it presents a tremendous opportunity for an emerging economy to compete with traditional centres of innovation in the developed world.

China's policy framework for regenerative medicine is shaped by developmental goals: policy strategies are aimed at capturing potential economic rewards, with an emphasis on translational research and technol

Nik Brown York University

The Privatised Consumption of Bioscience – the Politics of Commercial Cord

This paper explores new forms of consumption in the biosciences that directly link consumers with a new range of clinical services. The case of cord blood banking sits alongside other forms of direct consumption including, for example, an expansion in privatised fertility services, therapeutic stem cell tourism, self medication, etc. In turn, this denotes a changing formulation of the role of the state in the supply, regulation and oversight of the relationship between consumers and an expanding bioscience services sector. Commercial cord blood banking has expanded considerably over recent years, enabling new parents to pay to have the stem cells of their newborn children preserved for future treatments, should the need (and indeed opportunity) arise. This is one of the few areas where consumers are actively engaged in the public consumption, and rearticulation of, the stem cell vision. The paper elaborates on the politics of expectations in cases of this kind, and reflects on the emergence of prospective future-oriented engagements with new biosciences services.


Herbert Gottweis University of Vienna

Regulating Stem Cell Research in the Global Arena

This paper analysis the tension between local trend towards human embryonic stem cell resarch and efforts towards establishing a global regime of stem cell research. Different efforts towords transnationalizing stem cell regualtion such as the UK stem cell bank regulatory strategy and the activities of various international scientific organizations are discussed. An assessment is given which how stem cell regulation integration could operate in the global arena

Robin Ann Downey

University of Calgary

rdowney at ucalgary dot ca

Yann Joly, University of Montreal, yann.joly at umontreal dot ca

Democratizing Science? Stem Cell Research in Canada

This paper explores how political and moral constraints in the Canadian context have shaped the context within which stem cell scientists work. One potential outcome here is a democratization of science, as scientists respond to the policy context through the creation of open models of collaboration, and as Voluntary Health Organizations (VHOs) play a significant role in developments. Recently, Canadian VHOs, as is the case in other countries, have responded to the promises and potential of new developments in Regenerative Medicine, especially stem cell research. Through partnerships, these organizations have funded research and promoted legislation that would facilitate stem cell research. However, critical moral stances continue to be influential: e.g., pro- life groups routinely promote their views to proponents of research, even after legislation has passed. As a result, other actors, including VHOs and scientists, are more likely to form strategic partnerships, often moving forward cautiously, and, in many cases, favoring a more moderate approach than is prominent in other national contexts. These conditions also help to provide a collaborative environment for scientists. These developments continue to influence stem cell research in Canada. Interviews, organizational texts, and scientific documents are the main sources of data for this analysis.

Discussant: Linda Hogle University of Wisconsin



1.2 STS & Information Studies I: Cyberinfrastructure / e-Science

Organizers: Jean-François Blanchette

Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

blanchette at ucla dot edu

Geoffrey Bowker, Santa Clara University

Chair: Ramesh Srinivasan (UCLA)

While the terms cyberinfrastructure and e-Science appear to have originated in science and engineering, information studies scholars have made these terms their own. These are inherently information-based entities. Cyberinfrastructure is explicitly about building an infrastructure that is information- and data-intensive, distributed, and collaborative. E-Science is explicitly about new ways of doing science, all of which require more information and data, connectivity, and collaboration. These panelists will explore the particular perspective that information studies brings to cyberinfrastructure and e-Science, including theories, research questions, methods, and variables. Collectively, the panelists span a range of disciplinary training that converge s in information studies. Expertise includes sociology, history, communication, computer science, and human factors.

Paul Wouters, Anne Beaulieu Virtual Knowledge Studio paul.wouters at vks.knaw dot nl

Changing Practices, Telling Stories, Building Tools in e-research

E-research initiatives are technology-enabled interventions in current research practices. These interventions are justified by the hope that e-research infrastructures and tools will foster new venues for researchers and scholars. This triggers a complex interaction between hope, hype, and accountability. In this presentation, we focus on how we are using and developing STS expertise in order to pursue reflexive analysis along with design of new e-research scholarly practices. More specifically, we consider the tensions involved in pursuing three kinds of activities around e-research: changing practices, telling stories and building tools. These tensions take on different shapes in different fields. In our presentation we will focus on specific episodes in the humanities and interpretative social sciences: digitization of cultural heritage, hybrid social science databases, and the creation of visualization and collaborative environments. This kind of nexus is exemplary of the types of challenges that researchers will experience in e-social science and e- humanities, and that scholars will encounter in the study of cyberinfrastructures as tools for new ways of knowing.

David Ribes

School of Information, University of Michigan


Consequences of the Long-Term Today

The notion of infrastructure evokes the image of creating and sustaining a ubiquitous, persistent and reliable environment. In planning such ‘long-term’ infrastructures participants encounter multiple difficulties: how to design an infrastructure for shifting scientific methods? How to secure the continued commitment of participants? And, how to ensure the perseverance of the infrastructure project in the face of changing technologies, emerging standards and uncertain institutional trajectories? Drawing from ethnographic research in multiple scientific cyberinfrastructure projects (GEON, LEAD, WATERS, LTER to name a few); this presentation will explore ‘the long in their terms’. In each of these projects geologic, atmospheric, and environmental scientists, respectively, define a vision of long-term development which ranges from five years to centuries. Each of these spans of time are matched with strategies for securing the commitment of participants, planning for changes in institutional funding regimes, or coping with shifts in information technology. I will outline actor’s definitions of long-term infrastructure development and the strategies which they have developed to accompany them. Regardless of ‘long-term success’, in planning for the long-term today the practice of science is being transformed. It is in the present that cyberinfrastructure participants are enacting the future organization of science.

Geoffrey Bowker Santa Clara University

Cyberinfrastucture Studies - Emerging Themes about E-mergent Knowledgescapes

It is rare enough in human history that new ways of working are developed. When we developed speech, writing and printing new forms of action at a distance and over time were rendered possible. It seems natural to complete the tetrad with the Internet. It has become progressively clearer (as we have kept better records …) that each new work mode accompanied – though it is by no means simply the case that they caused - great social, economic and organizational changes. In this paper I explore the current change in terms of its relationship with the nature and production of knowledge. We move from a definition of cyberinstructure to the adumbration of an historical context for its development to organizational, political and finally ontological dimensions of its development. Most examples will be drawn from scientific cyberinfrastructure, however where appropriate links to knowledge work in the arts and humanities and in business will be made.

Marina Jirotka

Oxford University Computing Laboratory

The Practical Accomplishment of Data Sharing

A key feature and perceived advantage of e-Science technology is the potential for developing a ‘commons’ of information, data that can be easily accessed and shared


across both geographical and disciplinary boundaries. This very accessibility is seen to offer the conditions for new forms of science to emerge. However, with the completion of the first round of UK e-Science pilot projects, and experiences from cyber- infrastructure projects, questions have emerged relating to this vision of data sharing, fundamentally how it ‘fits’ with scientific practices. This is occurring at the same time as the extended perspective of ‘e-Research’ is being proposed to reflect a wider set of research practices embodying business, government, social science and the arts and humanities. As the e-Science vision is expanding into these disciplines and settings, particularly within e-Social Sciences and Humanities, further questions are emerging that seem to challenge the vision of the unproblematic sharing of data. These issues do not seem to fall neatly into the remit of conventional Usability, though often the difficulties surrounding uptake of technologies are explained and accounted for in terms of users’ lack of training in the new technologies, or their resistance to changing work practices. In this paper I will draw upon various case studies of UK e-Science and e-Social Science/Humanities projects to outline key issues that are emerging. These suggest the need to reconsider our assumptions and conceptions regarding the nature of sharing scientific research information and its corresponding impact on practice.

Greg Downey

University of Wisconsin-Madison

gdowney at wisc dot edu

The library on the screen: Contested infrastructures for knowing in the pre-Web era

Starting in the mid-1990s, the World Wide Web, the Digital Library Initiative, and the Google Books Project all helped to redefine the “virtual library” as a global collection of spatially distributed but temporally instantaneous multimedia information resources. But during the two decades preceding this technological convergence, the relationship of the library to the “screen” was the topic of much experimentation and concern among working librarians in the US throughout a diverse spatial and social division of labor. School librarians were wrestling with off- the-shelf CD-ROM software and the expensive hardware required to access it; public librarians were installing the first online public access catalogs (OPACs) within their buildings, a screen-based representation of data previously available only within the physical card catalog; and university librarians were investigating the power of screen-based data query and retrieval services over local- and wide-area computer networks. This paper highlights several ways that “the library on the screen” was imagined and prototyped, produced and consumed, over an uneven landscape of librarianship during the pre-WWW era. In each case, the space-time changes wrought by the shift of both data and metadata from physical, printed artifacts to virtual, digital forms had profound effects on the meanings of both library use and library labor.

Les Gasser (invited discussant) University of Ilinois, Urbana-Champaign



1.3 Ways of Knowing the Biomedical Body

Organizer/chair: Ericka Johnson

Linköping University

erijo at

Rachel Prentice, Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University, USA

Our bodies often remain relatively invisible to us until something that happens that brings them to our attention, such as when we become sick or injured. Often, these moments bring us into the medical system where it is another’s job to tell us what is going on with our bodies. These others include people and machines that tell us about our bodies using descriptions and inscriptions. This panel explores the relationship that develops among practitioners, machines, and patients and the ways of knowing bodies that machines suggest. Papers in this session show the actors and interests that create scientific instruments to measure the body; examine how simulators show us how we should know a body; look at how emotions and technologies work together in dramatic moments of birth; and examine controversies surrounding cadaver dissection as a means of knowing the human body.

Elin Bommenel

Department of Service Management, Lund University, Sweden

From insecurity to security. The process of creating an instrument

This paper maps the way from insecurity to security in the translation from nature (in this case the caries cavities) to printed research results. What observations were put aside as anomalies, what observation counted as real, and thus desired observations? How did these choices affect the construction of the instrument, and thus the definition of what was possible to see and what the researchers wanted to see? The study shows the production of scientific instruments as an ongoing process where more than scientific results are produced and confirmed: common understandings and metaphors supported, as are the interests of those financing the research, and individual scientific roles, professions, and careers. The work is based on extensive archival material.

Ericka Johnson

Dept of Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden

Mapping medical experience. Simulators and the reconstruction of knowledge about the body

When simulators are used to supplement training on patients, the patients participation in medical practice is silenced. Applying Barads theories about intra-action and agential


reality to the case of a gynaecological simulator, this paper suggests ways the patients experience of medicine can be included in simulator design. Understanding medical simulations as reconstituted practice rather than representations of human anatomies points to the political importance of asking whose experience is being represented by the simulator. Work with a gynaecological simulator and professional patients suggests that women experience gynaecological exams in ways not measured nor addressed by the gynaecological simulator. This paper asks how incorporating these experiences would change the simulator. Emphasising the importance of experienced medical practice as a phenomenon of knowing creates a discursive space in which to talk about the value of including the patients experience of medical practice in simulator design.

Petra Jonvallen

Dept. of Gender and Technology, Luleå University, Sweden

Overcoming the abject. Identifying with the woman while monitoring a foetus

This paper investigates the concept of abjection (Grosz 1990) in relation to introducing new technological devices into birthing practice and draws from examples emanated from fieldwork performed in a Swedish university hospital birthing centre where a new foetal monitor is being introduced. Notions of the abject in relation to the birthing woman and the foetus respectively are investigated. The abject is further analyzed in relation to the work practices of midwives and doctors and situated in the delivery room and in the conference room where rounds take place. The argument put forward is that overcoming notions of the abject is done through the engagement in an often dramatic birthing process and the consequent identification with the birthing woman. How this relates to new technological devices in birthing is discussed.

Rachel Prentice

Cornell University, U.S.A.

Cutting Dissection: Anatomy Teaching and New Tools for Knowing the Body

Cadaver dissection is among the first rites of passage most medical students undergo. The lessons that this complex practice conveys are instrumental, particularly the language and structure of the human body, and emotional, including exposure to death and development of an affective stance toward the body. But cadaver dissection is also a contested method of learning anatomy. Medical schools are doing away with dissection in favor of demonstrations, computer programs, and plastinated specimens. This paper examines controversies surrounding dissection, considering the relationship of traditional dissection to new technologies within the context of a changing world of medicine, medical technologies, and ways of knowing bodies.

Rachel Washburn

University of California, San Francisco

rachel.washburn at ucsf dot edu


Human Biomonitoring & the Lived Experience of Body Burdens

Recent advances in the field of analytic chemistry have facilitated the measurement of low- levels of a wide range of xenobiotic compounds in humans with increasing precision. The process of collecting and analyzing bodily fluids and tissues for the presence of biological markers, or biomarkers of chemical exposure, is called biological monitoring, or biomonitoring. By providing direct measurements of human exposures to an extensive array of compounds, previously undetectable in humans, biomonitoring is anticipated to significantly contribute to understandings of the chemical causes of a wide range of health problems, including breast cancer and infertility. However, as many scholars have demonstrated, tests that reveal genetic, biological, and other sorts of health related information are often fraught with complexities and ambiguities. While biomonitoring is not yet considered a “medical technology” per se, I argue that in revealing the presence of chemicals residing within the body, that could cause or be linked to health problems, it very much resembles other health related diagnostic programs. As such, disclosing biomonitoring results to individuals raises some important questions, including the ways in which such information is communicated as well as its bearing on individuals' understandings of health, illness, and risk. This paper presents data from 20 in-depth interviews with women who had recently undergone blood mercury screening. Analyses reveal that receiving such results serves to make environmental health risks “real” in new and increasingly individualized ways.

Discussant Natasha Myers MIT, U.S.A.



1.4 Knowledge for Governing Science

Organizer/chair: Sabine Maasen

Science Studies Program / University of Basel

sabine.maasen at

Peter Weingart, Institute for Science and Technology Studies / University of Bielefeld,

peter.weingart at

The post-war ‘social contract’ between science and society has come to an end: One of its central elements had been the institutionalized trust in the self- regulating mechanisms of science assuring the prudent use of public funds and the ultimate utility of research for the common good. The erosion of this guiding principle gave way to a ‘new deal’ between science and society, basically resting on two ideas: First, universities should become both efficient and responsible actors. Second, science should be regulated so that its knowledge production would serve the common good either by excellence or engagement of the public. This, in turn, led to the (further) advancement of practices reassuring the special quality of universities and science, respectively: ratings, rankings, evaluations, social validations. They are indicative of novel ways of knowing in the governance of science insofar as they respond to the intensified political call for transparency – however flawed, dysfunctional, or illusive these practices turn out to be.

Sabine Maasen

Science Studies Program / University of Basel

Excellence and/or Transdiciplinarity: Which Knowledge Do We Want?

Growing market pressures on universities currently challenge the production of scientific knowledge: On the one hand, competition among enterprising universities is meant to produce excellence as well as respective measures to evaluate the outcomes and rank universities accordingly. On the other hand, the call for more ‘robust’, relevant, and publicly responsible research is tantamount to producing transdisciplinary knowledge that is ‘socially validated’ by extra-scientific actors. These two principles governing knowledge production are related to one another, albeit asymmetrically. Trans-disciplinarity is never supposed to produce excellence, whereas excellence is often conceived as a cooperative effort between disciplines and extra-scientific stakeholders such as firms, political actors, etc. Excellence and transdisciplinarity thus represent two rather distinct ways of producing ‘good knowledge’, either by way of including the public (constituting networks of mutual learning) or by way of including expert knowledge holders (constituting networks of excellence). This indicates a split discourse about the ‘quality’ of scientific knowledge: While transdisciplinarity argues with the local applicability of knowledge, excellence argues with innovativeness. Common to both types of knowledge, however, is their ultimate target of advancing the common good, either by participation (transdisciplinarity) or by highly competitive knowledge (excellence). The talk will explore this argument based on empirical research.


Peter Weingart

Institute for Science and Technology Studies / University of Bielefeld

Creating Knowledge about Elite / Elite Universities: Rankings and Their Institutional Impact

Universities, (this applies mostly to European universities) for a long time, insisted on receiving more resources in order to improve their performance, and governments reacted by asking for more ‘value for money’. A certain immobility prevailed. However, things changed with the political demand for transparency and the introduction of rankings. It was the media, not the universities themselves, that responded first to the call for transparency: Rankings of teaching and research (among German, European, and/or international universities) became ‘news value’, whether the universities like it or not. The crucial condition for rankings to be effective is that they can inform an organization so as to adapt its behavior accordingly. As an instrument for efficient, knowledge-based governance it needs to refer to dimensions that the organization (here: a university) can influence. However, most rankings do not meet this condition. Instead, they have led to a series of unintended reactions, both on the level of individual and organizational behaviors that can be summarily called ‘goal displacements’. The talk explores some of these adaptations and their impact on knowledge production.

Torsten Strulik

Department of Sociology / University of Bielefeld

Knowledge, Ignorance and Communication. Sociological Perspectives on Scientific Evaluations

The modern society is reacting to a self-produced intransparency by the introduction of evaluations. From a theoretical point of view, this form of societal adaptation brings about questions of how the emergence of evaluative organisations and mechanisms can be explained in detail and which functional requirements will be met by them. In this context and by the example of scientific evaluations I want to focus on three interrelated aspects: (1) Evaluations react to the increasingly important demand of explicating knowledge for purposes of governance. It seems to be characteristic for the modern society to take implicit, unspoken and traditional knowledge as an object for strategies and mechanisms of explication. (2) Evaluations are in line with a ‘managerial style’ of handling ignorance (resp. uncertainty, complexity, intransparency). The growing importance of evaluations illustrates that a transition from a reactive to an active treatment of ignorance is taking place in modern society. (3) Evaluations are producing illusions of security and thereby enabling risk communications. Thus, under the aspect of latent functions evaluations are not only producing unintended consequences, as often illustrated. They are also protecting communications against problematisation and destabilisation.


Martin Reinhart

Science Studies Program / University of Basel

Peer Review. How Knowledge About Quality Comes About

Peer Review is viewed as one of the central mechanisms in science for assessing and furthering quality of scientific work. In the case of editorial peer review the main challenge lies in assessing work that claims to be new and innovative. These assessments are inherently uncertain because they take place on the border of what we already know and what might be added as new and interesting knowledge. Peer Review as a social institution controls and reduces this kind of uncertainty by offering an assessment procedure that enables reaching decisions routinely. In addition peer review also certifies new knowledge and generates trust in it. In the related case of science funding uncertainty is even more problematic because the scientific work that has to be assessed is not even performed yet. The judgment here can not be about quality but about a potential for quality. Thus peer review in science funding organizations has to serve an additional function by bridging the gaps between assessments of previous work, the present proposal and the chances of future success.

My talk will show how these kinds of decisions are reached by analyzing empirical material - the internal documentation of funding decisions - from a science funding organization. I will argue that new demands traditionally not rooted within scientific goal orientation e.g. for more transparency or transdisciplinarity can pose problems for established peer review procedures.

Michèle Lamont

Department of Sociology / Harvard University

Department of Sociology and African and African-American

Studies, Harvard University

"A Pragmatic Approach to Evaluating Quality in the Social Science and the Humanities"

"This paper draws on evidence presented in my forthcoming book Cream

Rising to systematize a theoretical approach to the study of quality

that draws on symbolic interactionism, the pragmatic turn in sociology,

as well as the literature on boundary work. Whereas the earlier

literature on peer review focused on final outcomes and consensus, I

develop a Goffmanian approach to understand the process of negotiation

in peer review panels, the constraints that meaning- making,

interactions, and networks create for evaluation, and customary rules of evaluation."




1.5 Climate Change

Chair: Elizabeth Hartmann

Presenters: Elizabeth Hartman, Maxwell Boykoff, Mike Goodman, Jasmin Sydee, Roger


Elizabeth Hartmann

Director, Population and Dev Program, Hampshire College

bhartmann at hampshire dot edu

Refugees and Rebels: Who Gets to Shape the Discourse on Global Warming?

As evidence of climate cha nge becomes ever more compelling, struggles over who gets to frame its causes, effects and solutions are intensifying. In environmental and security circles, alarm is building over the prospect of ‘climate refugees’ whose forced migration poses a potentia l threat to economic and political stability. The term ‘climate refugee’ shares much in common with the problematic concept of ‘environmental refugee’ so popular in the 1990s which served to naturalize the social inequalities at the root of environmental degradation, pathologize migration, and homogenize diverse populations. In the field of environmental security, ‘environmental refugees’ were also viewed as a dangerous threat to national security. Today we are witnessing a similar phenomenon as a Pentagon report warns of starving waves of global warming refugees washing up on our shores and prominent environmentalists like Al Gore and Lester Brown use fear of ‘climate refugees’ – referring mainly to poor black people displaced by hurricane Katrina -- to drum up implicitly racialized alarm over global warming. This paper challenges the notion of ‘climate refugees’ and addresses the need to develop other ways to view those who are placed at most risk by climate change due to pre-existing social and economic vulnerabilities.

Maxwell Boykoff University of Oxford maxwell.boykoff at

Battlefields of Knowledge regarding Anthropogenic Climate Change: Science, Media, Policy, Public Discourses in the United States and United Kingdom

This paper undertakes an analysis of various facets of climate change discourse – within and between the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (U.K.) – by examining interactions between climate science and the mass media. Through these relations, the research also examines concurrent influences and feedbacks at the interface with climate policy and the public sphere. Media coverage significantly shapes public understanding of climate science. However, different country contexts – amid a complex web of factors – contribute to divergent priorities and processes between climate science and media communities. This project explores the extent to which ‘different ways of knowing’ elements of climate science – from consensus views to dissenting climate ‘contrarians’ – ha ve gained salience through media representational practices. It also examines factors that have impeded more widespread public understanding of the causes and consequences


of anthropogenic climate change, and connected pressures for enhanced policy cooperation. These are analyzed through recent coverage of anthropogenic climate change in the Independent (and Sunday Independent), the Times (and Sunday Times), and the Guardian (and Observer) in the U.K and the Lost Angeles Times, the New York Times, U.S.A. Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post in the U.S.A. Analyses also draw upon interviews with key actors in climate science and the mass media. Ultimately, this paper pursues these case-studies – and interactions therein – as a basis for further critical analyses of the ongoing communication of science via mass media.

Mike Goodman

King's College London

michael.k.goodman at

Maxwell T. Boykoff

Centre for the Environment

James Martin Fellow

Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford maxwell.boykoff at dot


“Celebrity Is A Bit Silly, But It Is Currency, Of A Kind”: A Consideration Of The Changing Nature Of Celebrity Politics, Media, And Climate Change Science

While discourse on climate change has gained more traction in the public domain, celebrity involvement in this critical issue has also been on the rise. From musical groups promoting ‘carbon neutral’ tours, to actors and former politicians producing, narrating and starring in big screen global warming feature films, high-profile personalities have undertaken efforts to amplify concerns about human contributions to climate change. Simultaneously, celebrity politicians and politicised celebrities are at the centre of the public debates over the variety and extent of climate change mitigation and adaptation actions.

This paper examines how the (de)legitimisation of celebrity politicians and politicised celebrities influences unfolding discourse on climate change. Moreover – situated in contemporary (consumer- and spectacle-driven) carbon-based society – we interrogate the various effects that this particular set of personalities has on debates over climate change causes, consequences and action. In short, how might the entry of celebrities into debates over science and development be merely ‘silly’, as Bono puts it, or be a possible ‘currency’ for the popularisation (and politicisation?) of global problems to an otherwise media-hungry public in the North?

In theorising across the wide fields of cultural and media studies, geography and science studies, we seek to tease apart some of the promises, pitfalls and contradictions of this increasingly entrenched set of iconographic ‘actors’. Thus, ultimately – as a form of climate change action – we ask, is it more effective to ‘plant’ celebrities instead of trees? Or are we left with the figure of the ‘inconvenient’ celebrity as just one more spectacle to


gaze at as they parade across the ‘red carpet’ of environmental and development-related causes?

Jasmin Sydee

Science, Technology and Society Program,

University of Wollongong

js72 at uow dot edu dot au

Adapting to Change: The Politics of Climate Science-Policy in the Pacific Islands Context

Whilst global knowledges, processes and agendas are highly influential in shaping the character of Pacific regional action on climate change, the particular characteristics of Pacific political culture, including decision making characterised by a small expert elite, the continuing strength of Pacific chiefly and land tenure systems, small debt economies and limited resources for endogenous scientific activity, create a very particular context in which research and policy is developed.

Participants in the Pacific climate policy domain often demarcate between ‘the science’ and ‘the policy’, insisting that better communication is needed between these two spheres to further a strong response to climate change. Yet this boundary is in many ways rhetorical, with expert community at the regional level being greatly integrated. For example, scientists may also be policy makers, or scientists may shift between ‘hard scientific’ and social analysis seamlessly within their analysis without qualification. There is also a strong consciousness amongst indigenous and non- indigenous decision makers/experts about the continuing primacy of Pacific cultures and local knowledge, and decision makers/experts play a significant role in negotiating between various and competing/overlapping ways of knowing and relating.

Out of this more complex relationship between science and policy, a number of quite pervasive narratives and discursive patterns about climate change have coalesced, including a shift from representing climate change as a threat to the very habitability of the Pacific, to critical hazard to be adapted to in the course of development. This paper will examine examples from documents and interviews to highlight some of the ideological assumptions and normative commitments that become naturalised in technocratic language.

Roger S Chen

Chinese Culture University, Taiwan

rogersc at

Knowledge System and Glocalization: Mapping Taiwan's Climate Change Research and Local Response

The concept of 'knowledge system'is recently highlighted by various international organizations and academies predicated on the recognition that the linkage between


knowledge production, application and diffusion has to be enhanced if firm and enduring local response is to be realized in dealing with global environmental issues. Knowledge system, emphasizing the connection between 'sustainability science' and 'local knowledge', offers an insightful mean to reveal the state and flow of scientific knowledge that affect local response to global environmental issues. Drawing on the notion of knowledge system this study uses network analysis to exam Taiwan's knowledge production and diffusion on climate change issue, an issue that has already became the most pressing agenda of global environmental governance but somehow remotes to the daily life of local citizen, well delineating the very argument of 'glocalization'. The investigation mainly proceeds with two parts. For sustainability science, which represents the upstream resource of knowledge system and the foremost pillar for upholding sustainable development planning, scientific research is measured to detect its role in translation from knowledge to action. For the domain of local knowledge, this study gathers issues and rhetoric proclaimed by advocators and officials in media and web at salient events concerning climate change and analyzes them to show how the cognition of climate change and the legitimization of local response are depicted on the basis of scientific facts. The underlying presumption is that enduring local response and public recognition of environmental vulnerability are more likely to be legitimated and activated by local-related research issues than those broad climate phenomena announced by local and international science community.

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