What forces are needed for social change in a knowledge society?
Movements, Participation, and the Remaking of Knowledge
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Mobilizing Science theoretically and empirically explores the rise of a new kind of social movement—one that attempts to empower citizens through the use of scientific research. Sabrina McCormick advances theories of social movements, development, and science and technology studies by examining how these fields intersect in cases around the globe.
McCormick grounds her argument in two very different case studies: the anti-dam movement in Brazil and the environmental breast cancer prevention movement in the U.S. These, and many other cases, show that the scientization of society, where expert knowledge shapes institutions and lay people are marginalized, gives rise to these new types of movements. Activists who engage in science often instigate new methods that result in surprising findings and innovative scientific tools; however, these movements still often fail due to superficial participatory institutions and tightly knit corporate/government relationships.
"In this ambitious and impressive first book that is based on research on two continents, McCormick breaks new ground in the burgeoning literature on deliberative and participatory approaches to making technological decision-making more democratic. Among her contributions, she deepens the understanding of citizen-science alliances by exploring the mechanisms that make such alliances work and by analyzing the pathways that lead to their cooptation."
"Mobilizing Science is a welcome addition to the growing body of research on public participation in scientific controversies...McCormick traces how activists and lay people interested in shaping public policy have engaged with the local, national, and international scientific and political communities to challenge the practice of knowledge production, influence public opinion, and redefine the scope of scientific research and activity.... McCormick shows how two different democratizing science movements have come to redefine the relationship between scientific expert and concerned activist, encouraging greater civic participation in the politics of science"
"What makes Mobilizing Science provocative and engaging is McCormick’s choice of disparate cases to guide her analysis: the Brazilian anti-dam movement and the environmental breast cancer movement in the United States.... McCormick’s greatest contribution to bridging science studies and social movements can be found in the opening chapter in which she lays out the theoretical groundwork for distinguishing DSMs [democratizing science movements] from other movements and for understanding how they engage in challenges to science."
"McCormick draws on [two] cases to discuss the formation of a different kind of social movement: democratizing science movements (DSMs). Such movements have become important in societies that prioritize those who have expert knowledge, and in doing so, allow the possessors of such knowledge to have the upper hand in shaping political processes.... McCormick employs her two cases to explore when DSMs succeed or how they become co-opted by political mechanisms that keep their political participation superficial. Summing Up:Recommended."