Entanglement – Science Communities
The two subprojects Evidence in the Anthropocene (subproject 5) and Citizen Science (subproject 6) start from the hypothesis that in late modern societies different scientific communities and various publics are increasingly engaging in the production and use of scientific and technical knowledge in many fields. The tandem examines the following key question: How do evidence practices work and change if various expert groups and publics are involved in socio-epistemic arrangements?
The primary interest is not, which forms of evidence production and stabilization correspond more or less satisfactorily to the normative model of a socially robust knowledge society. The focus is rather on those practices in which actors are taking part, who are or outside of certified scientific communities or belong to quite different scientific groups.
The tandem examines those entanglements of evidence practices between science and the public from two complementary perspectives: Subproject 5 analyses the transdisciplinary discourse on the Anthropocene. It asks how the discussion on the age of humans has gone beyond the bio- and geosciences and how this discussion has become even pop-culture. Meanwhile scientists of many disciplines are intensively debating the Anthropocene. However, the Anthropocene has long transcended the realm of science and is intensively discussed even in the mass media and the public sphere. The blurring of conventional boundaries between nature and culture, humans and the Earth, environment and society and between long established disciplinary cultures of knowledge production is on the center of our research. Here, a specific scientific problem area begins to emerge in which the participation of different experts and other publics is provoking new negotiations of evidence practices.
Subproject 6 analyses evidence practices of Citizen Science, resulting from the public participation on research processes – also frequently associated with environmental issues: within Citizen Science lay people can participate in the generation and evaluation of data, for instance intermediated by digital platforms or mobile devices. In several cases groups of amateur scientists were formed and became digitally networked, who raise own socio-epistemic claims. While subproject 5 explores the entanglement between science and the public hermeneutically, subproject 6 uses qualitative empirical methods. The content-related and methodological complementarity of the projects enables to identify socio-epistemic arrangements and shifts in evidence practices which have been so far unusual. In these practices the interconnection of disciplines and of science and the public is itself part of the negotiation processes.
The tandem contributes to a better understanding of the structures and constellations of late modern knowledge societies, in which various actors are gaining increasing importance for the knowledge production both on the normative and on the empirical level.