Scientists, Experts, and Civic Engagement : Walking a Fine Line book cover
1st Edition

Scientists, Experts, and Civic Engagement
Walking a Fine Line

ISBN 9781138546608
Published February 5, 2018 by Routledge
166 Pages

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Book Description

How do scientists, scholars, and other experts engage with the general public and with the communities affected by their work or residing in their sites of study? Where are the fine lines between public scholarship, civic engagement, and activism? Must academics 'give back' once they collect data and publish results? In this volume, authors from a wide range of disciplines examine these relationships to assess how they can be fruitful or challenging. Describing the methodological and ethical issues that experts must consider when carrying out public scholarship, this book includes a checklist for critical factors of success in engagement and an examination of the role of digital social media in science communication. Illustrated by a range of case studies addressing environmental issues (climate change, resource use, post-disaster policy) and education, it offers an investigation into the levels and ways in which scholars can engage, and how and whether academics and experts who engage in community work and public scholarship are acknowledged and rewarded for doing so by their institutions. Also bringing into the debate the perspective of citizens who have collaborated with academics, the book offers an exploration of the democratizing potential of participatory action research.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface, Amy E. Lesen. Part I Civically Engaged Academicians: Theories, Challenges, and Opportunities: 'When you leave town, I'll leave town': insights from a civically engaged researcher in postdiluvian New Orleans, Richard Campanella; Beyond Pasteur's quadrant: science and the liberal arts in a democracy, Amy Koritz; Somewhere between the ideal and the real, the civic engagement 'expert' learns and lets go, Margaret Molly Olsen; Community enrollment: colleges and the fault lines between academic and civic engagement, Stephen Tremaine. Part II How We Engage: Modes of Participation from Digital Social Media to Radical Democracy: Effective engagement: critical factors of success, Janice Cumberbatch; Participatory action-citizen engagement: when knowledge comes from the academy and the community, Kristina J. Peterson; 'We can't give up': a conversation about community engagement, Albert P. Naquin, Amy E. Lesen and Kristina J. Peterson; A new paradigm for science communication? Social media, Twitter, science, and public engagement: a literature review, Amy E. Lesen. Index.

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Amy E. Lesen is Research Associate Professor at Tulane University's Center for Bioenvironmental Research.


’Simultaneously a memoir of civically engaged scholars and a practical guide for developing such projects, this book makes the compelling argument that education is civic engagement. Drawing together scholars and practitioners of community engagement, Lesen’s volume addresses the role of the university in shaping our youth and in promoting civic participation in the social and natural sciences. A strong argument for new democratic pedagogies in the academy, this book demonstrates what knowledge, values and action can look like in the university. Scientists, Experts, and Civic Engagement couldn’t be timelier given our socially uncertain and rapidly changing times.’ Barbara L. Allen, Virginia Tech University, USA ’Communities negatively impacted by environmental, economic, social and human health disasters are frequently the target of studies by academics, but receive little to no benefits. Amy E. Lesen provides excellent, thoughtful and beneficial guidance to scientists and academics as well as to the impacted communities on the methods and terms of civic engagement that will strengthen the studies and benefit the communities involved before, during and after the research is carried out. Benefits to the impacted communities are critical to assisting them in their survival.’ Wilma A. Subra, President, Subra Company, USA ’Scientists traditionally earn their economy of prestige through their research that culminates in peer-reviewed publications. In Scientists, Experts, and Civic Engagement: Walking a Fine Line, Dr Lesen and her co-authors present strong arguments and approaches for changing the traditional paradigm, and they urge scientists to use their special approach to research questions to address the social needs that affect communities in an exponentially expanding global economy.’ Robert A. Thomas, Loyola University New Orleans, USA