I’ve had a new paper, written with my colleagues Jason Chilvers and Tom Hargreaves, published in the journal Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. The paper is entitled ‘Mapping participation: A systematic analysis of diverse public participation in the UK energy system‘ and is one of the major papers from our work on the remaking energy participation project as part of phase 3 of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).
I have a book review out in the Journal of Responsible Innovation of Brice Laurent’s ‘Democratic Experiments: problematizing nanotechnology and democracy in Europe and the United States‘, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2017, pp. 261.
It’s a fantastic book which rewards close reading, with lots of useful insights into the governance of emerging technologies and the object of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Laurent proposes the very useful concept of ‘critical constitutionalism’, which I summarised the review as “the need to conduct analysis in the midst of processes of problematization of technologies and democracy – rather than waiting until everything is settled and stabilised”. This is a disposition I will definitely be taking forward in future work.
The full review is available here, and I can also provide a pre-print version to anyone who is interested in reading it.
I’m thrilled to be part of a new paper, with my colleagues Jason Chilvers and Tom Hargreaves, which is just out in Energy Research and Social Science. The paper is entitled ‘Ecologies of participation in socio-technical change: The case of energy system transitions’ and is the first academic paper to come out of our UKERC-funded project ‘Remaking Energy Participation‘. It reports on the results of the systematic mapping of energy participation in the UK 2010-2015 which I carried out. In particular it highlights the broader patterns or ‘ecologies’ of participation which we found by doing this mapping, and draws conclusions about the big picture of energy participation in emerging UK energy transitions. We argue that this shows that certain forms of participation – particularly opinion surveys and behaviour change – are valued over others – for example, protests or arts projects. There are also many unacknowledged connections between different examples of participation, for example in the models of engagement used, the topics covered/ or excluded, or the participants involved. The paper demonstrates that by trying to take account of this broader ecology of participation we can produce better evidence for energy transitions, and might view and intervene in examples of energy participation quite differently.
A plain-English briefing paper reporting on the results of this mapping work is available here.
At the end of September I had a new paper published in the journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, based on my PhD research on organisational learning in the UK Government’s public dialogue body Sciencewise. I was particularly proud to see this little labour of love come out as it tries to give people an insight into my ethnographic work in an around Sciencewise’s public dialogue exercises on science policy. This is, as far as I am aware, the first extended ethnography of an organisation of participation which has been carried out. I also got to play around a bit with theories of space and learning, which I think was productive.
The paper is available to read open access here.
There are some very interesting reflections here from Paula Kivimaa, Bruno Turnheim and Frans Berkhout on the ‘Beyond experiments: understanding how climate governance innovations become embedded’ INOGOV workshop which I attended at Sussex University at the end of April.
The workshop was particularly enjoyable because of the excellent group of people that Paula, Bruno and Frans had assembled to contribute to the book, and it was great to get to know several people whose work has been quite influential for me, as well as being introduced to the work of others who I hadn’t been aware of. I discussed my contribution to the workshop here, which I’m now going to refine and improve based on our discussions at the workshop, and the feedback I received from the other participants. Final chapter drafts are due at the end of August, which will hopefully lead to a reasonably quick turnaround at the publisher’s end. I think there is going to be much of interest in this collection, including some contributions with the potential to greatly impact thinking on climate governance and transitions.
My review of Ellen Stewart’s excellent new book ‘Publics and their health systems: rethinking participation’ was published on the LSE Review of Books on 11th May 2016. In the review I reflect on the broader move towards systemic accounts of public participation in the participation literature. I’m looking forward to some productive conversations on this topic with Ellen and others in future as we are trying to do a similar thing in our UK Energy Research Centre project on public participation in and around UK energy transitions.
The review can be accessed via the link below.
I have had an abstract accepted to contribute to a COST action workshop in Brighton in April, on the topic ‘Beyond experiments: Understanding how climate governance innovations become embedded‘. The aim of the workshop is to develop an edited book, and I’m using my chapter to develop my thinking on ‘democratic innovations’, a concept around which I hope to focus my research in future. What particularly attracted me to the workshop was the emphasis on bringing together insights from science and technology studies and governance studies which is something I have been thinking about a lot. I explain how I am hoping to do this in the abstract below, and how I think a focus on democratic innovations, rather than just public participation processes for example, can lead to new insights about climate governance.