Reviews

“The insightful chapters collected in this book show how concerns raised by technosciences provide a tremendous opportunity for remaking democracy. The editors and authors invite us to consider the so-called participatory turn neither as a masquerade nor as a mere social technology but as a global multisite construction place where new forms of collective life and government are imagined and experimented. A brilliant book that should be read by all those interested in the future of our planet.”

Michel Callon, Professor of Sociology, École des mines and Centre de sociologie de l’innovation, Paris, France

“Do not mistake the modesty advocated by this book for half-heartedness.Remaking Participation argues that we should expand our perspectives on participation, and need to get better at appreciating the incredible variety of locations, devices and genres with which participation is done in today’s technological societies. This situation makes it necessary to ‘un-fix’ our understanding of participation. In practice, participation often does not conform to the democratic ideal of participation that we know so well – it is not necessarily good, necessary, authentic. But neither would it do to declare that participation has turned into its opposite (that it has become co-opted, trivial, ineffective). Bringing together leading intellectual voices on science, technology and democracy,Remaking Participation shows that participation lies at the very heart of current technological, environmental and political transformations, and outlines a much needed research agenda that engages with the intensely ambivalent situations that result from this.”

Noortje Marres, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick, UK

“Modern societies remain hampered by myths about the relationship between science and democracy. The myths produce unwelcome practices, such as attempts to scientize political decisions or to discredit science by politicising it. This landmark volume explodes the myths and shows how science and democracy can achieve a new relationship underpinned by the core value of public participation. It shows how and why science needs to rethink its relationship with society, and how societies can make science and democracy far more responsive to their needs and desires. The book takes readers to the cutting-edge of debates about the proper relationships between science and democracy. More than this, it also explores new territory, showing how science and democracy can be more richly infused with the practices of both. The editors and authors have together done a brilliant job of showing us what needs to change, and how. It will be a key reference for many years to come. ”

Noel Castree, Professor of Geography, University of Wollongong, Australia and University of Manchester, UK

“Whether sparked by gene editing or geoengineering, fracking or food crops, arguments about the possibilities and pitfalls of advances in science and technology ripple through our societies with increasing frequency. How, and on what terms, experts, policymakers and wider publics engage in these debates is a topic of constant and fierce negotiation. In Remaking Participation, Jason Chilvers and Matthew Kearnes have brought together an exciting and original series of contributions from some of the leading thinkers in this field. The end result is a collection of rare quality, insight and relevance to real-world questions. It should be read by scholars, students, practitioners, policymakers, and all those who care about the future of science, technology and society.”

James Wilsdon, Professor of Science & Democracy, University of Sussex, UK & Chair, Campaign for Social Science

“‘Participation’ is the word that covers all sins, a term so elastic that it can be used to both challenge and legitimize any given decision-making process. Remaking Participation shows how to redeem this slippery concept and sharpen its critical edge. By examining in detail how citizens engage with controversial scientific and environmental issues, this book invites us to see the objects and the subjects of participation, the problems that trigger political action and the collectives that gather around them, as emergent, mutually constitutive realities. Far from being a recipe for relativism and detachment, the authors’ embrace of the contingency that besets participatory democracy in the making reinvigorates the ideal of civic engagement and recasts the role of social scientists as participants in open-ended political experiments.”

Javier Lezaun, Deputy Director, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, UK

“This is the book that many have long been waiting for. It tackles head-on, some of the most important current issues at the meeting of social science and wider politics: What does participation mean? Where is it going? Transcending the usual dichotomised tropes, these essays take diverse and highly nuanced critically reflective views – with many very practical implications. The conclusions are of enormous importance to all those academics and practitioners working in policy arenas touched by the language and practice of participation”

Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy and Co-Director of the STEPS Centre, University of Sussex, UK

“Exercises of participatory technology assessment are a fascinating window onto relations of science, citizens, and state. Bringing together a rich diversity of cases and arguments, the book builds on the idea that public assessment of technology is a form of democratic experiment by analyzing the variety of ways in which this is so. In the process, we gain a useful theoretical framework for understanding the modern enterprise of ‘public engagement’ as a co-constructive process of making publics, democratic idioms, and technoscience itself.”

David Winickoff, Director, Berkeley Program in Science & Technology Studies, USA

“This important book argues for a new approach to public participation in science and technology, one which understands participation as co-produced, relational and emergent. Written by the leading contributors in the field, and combining theoretical depth with engaging empirical material, this refreshing and timely collection is essential reading for all those concerned with science, innovation and democracy.”

Jane Calvert, Science Technology & Innovation Studies, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, UK

“Participatory politics are all the rage. This is especially the case when science, technology, corporate and political power shape innovation and policymaking. Such forces also manipulate opinion and even political and social outlooks. So the very act of participation could, in the wrong hands, reinforce the tools of power and influence. Jason Chilvers and Matthew Kearnes are very much alive to these dangers. They have brought together an impressive array of contributors who show that effective participation can be truly revolutionary and politically transforming. They are all on their guard that such a rewarding outcome has constantly to be fought for and reinvented through genuine partnerships and dialogue. The ultimate test is how far power is progressively shared and social justice genuinely created.”

Tim O’Riordan, Emeritus Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK

“Participation is a key field within the study of international development. This book adds significantly to existing approaches to participation by adding insights from science and technology studies and theories of democracy. It should be read by students and analysts working on international development, and anyone interested in participation as a research and policy tool.”

Tim Forsyth, Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

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