Citizen Science and Democracy: Participatory Water Monitoring in the Marcellus Shale Fracking Boom.

TitleCitizen Science and Democracy: Participatory Water Monitoring in the Marcellus Shale Fracking Boom.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKinchy, A
JournalScience as Culture
Pagination88 - 110
Date Published2017/03//
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number09505431
KeywordsCitizen , citizens , democracy , futures , NATURAL , PREPAREDNESS , PSYCHOLOGY , VOLUNTARY
AbstractProjections—the way that people collectively talk about the future—shape action in the present. This sociological observation has implications for citizen science initiatives that aim to confront powerful industries and produce social change. When people participate in citizen science associations—such as watershed monitoring organizations, the subject of this study—their actions and democratic sensibilities are affected by the ways that organizers and other volunteers project the future uses of the environmental data they are collecting. In this case, hundreds of people are participating in volunteer watershed monitoring groups in response to the “fracking” boom in the northeastern United States. Most of these efforts emphasize the collection of “baseline” data, which they view as essential to future efforts to hold polluters accountable. However, these projects tend to channel public concern about fracking toward future scientific controversies, instead of political action now to prevent pollution. Furthermore, baseline watershed monitoring efforts reinforce the epistemology of regulatory agencies, rather than generating alternative forms of knowledge about watershed health. Organizers actively work to convince volunteers that their work has meaning and that they are being empowered, but future-oriented data collection is often at odds with volunteers’ current-day motivations. Scholars and activists have often heralded citizen science as a way to radically democratize environmental governance; however, to achieve this, citizen science must project futures that stimulate transformative actions in the present. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]Copyright of Science as Culture is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
NotesAccession Number: 120392187; Kinchy, Abby 1; Affiliation: 1: Science & Technology Studies Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA; Source Info: Mar2017, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p88; Subject Term: CITIZENS; Subject Term: PSYCHOLOGY; Subject Term: DEMOCRACY; Author-Supplied Keyword: citizen science; Author-Supplied Keyword: democracy; Author-Supplied Keyword: futures; Author-Supplied Keyword: natural gas; Author-Supplied Keyword: preparedness; Author-Supplied Keyword: voluntary associations; Number of Pages: 23p; Document Type: Article
Short TitleScience as Culture