Feb 25, 2011

Organizing a session at 4S (Society for social studies of science) annual meeting

I'm trying to co-organize a session at the 4S conference (see their CFP), so here is our call for papers (abstracts, actually):

Call for papers for a session on public engagement with science at the 4S Annual Meeting, November 2-5, 2011, Cleveland, OH


“Problematizing public engagement with science”

The discourse of public engagement with science is a prominent topic in the STS literature. Dissatisfied with conventional science education and media dissemination methods, scholars and practitioners explore alternative ways of public engagement, such as the use of digital media, scientists’ participation in school classrooms, and placements of members of the public on advisory boards of policy-making and funding institutions. Where are we with public engagement now? Are we as scholars and practitioners on the right track?

In this session, we aim to bring together researchers who are interested in investigating and problematizing ways the public is engaged with science. We would like to stimulate a discussion that draws on philosophy, methodology, and practice by seeking answers to questions such as: What methods can aid us in understanding and critical analyses of existing and prospective means of public engagement? How can researchers investigate the effectiveness, inclusivity, and underlying agendas of the means of engaging the publics? Are we as researchers missing any perspectives, methods, or tools that can facilitate better understanding and successful implementations?

Ways to contribute to this discussion may include papers that provide insight and raise questions regarding any of the following:

  • Concepts and social agendas – What roles should various stakeholders (e.g., scientists, government, publics) play? What ethical and moral issues are involved? How do the core concepts, such as science, communication, and publics, influence our understanding of public engagement?
  • Theories and methodologies – Methods, assessments, and perspectives that hold promise for investigating issues around public engagement with science and science discourse.
  • Tools and rules – Existing means for promoting public engagement in science. What are the strengths and limitations of these means? What can be learned from reports of success or failure of existing initiatives of promoting public engagement with science?

We aim to organize at least one session submission for the 4S conference on the topic of problematizing public engagement with science. If we have sufficient number of co-presenters, we will submit complementary sessions themed accordingly to the submissions received.

Deadline for submitting abstracts: March 10, 2011

Please submit abstracts (250 words) to: Inna Kouper at inkouper at indiana dot edu

Session co-organizers: Lai Ma, Inna Kouper, & Thomas Fennewald (Indiana University)