Policy Press

Democratizing Science

The Political Roots of the Public Engagement Agenda

By Paola Mattei

Published

Sep 25, 2023

Page count

140 pages

ISBN

978-1529223958

Dimensions

216 x 240 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Sep 25, 2023

Page count

140 pages

ISBN

978-1529223972

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Democratizing Science
Download via OAPEN

Available open access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

Public trust in the scientific community is under extraordinary pressure. Crucial areas of human activity and public policy, such as education, universities, climate and health care are influenced by populist political strategies rather than evidence-based solutions. Moreover, data-driven methods are becoming increasingly subject to delegitimization.

This book examines potential remedies for improving public trust and the legitimacy of science. It reviews different policy approaches adopted by governments to incentivize the empowerment of stakeholders through co-production arrangements, participatory mechanisms, public engagement and interaction between citizens and researchers.

Offering an original analysis of the political roots of the governmental impact and engagement agenda, this book sheds much-needed light on the wider connections to democracy.

"An engaging and sound exploration of the complex interactions between democracy, citizenship and science. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in governance in digital societies." Jale Tosun, Heidelberg University

"Scientific research plays a key role in orienting public decisions and collective life. The book outlines a much-needed and imaginative agenda for revitalizing the vacillating confidence in scientific methods and findings." Maurizio Ferrera, Università degli Studi di Milano

Paola Mattei is Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Milan.

Chapter 1 - Introduction: Science and Democracy

A crisis of public trust in science

Knowledge systems in a populist era

Overview of the book

Chapter 2 - Public Engagement: Concept, Practice and Rhetoric

Public engagement: a slippery concept

Conclusions

Chapter 3 - The Entrepreneurial State

The New Public Management

A critique of New Public Management

The case of the adoption of New Public Management in the 1990s in Italy

Citizens' Charter of Education

Conclusions

Chapter 4 - The Engaged State: Bringing Citizens In

Citizen science

Collaborative governance in the new millennium and citizens as co-producers

The ecological citizen

Youth public engagement with sustainability

Conclusions

Chapter 5 - Working with Schools and the Case of Ecological Citizenship

Education for sustainable development in Italy

Adoption of mandatory civic education in schools

Operational concerns from the street level

Discussion and analysis

Conclusions

Chapter 6 - Universities and Civic Engagement

The 'old' universities and their social embeddedness

The 'new' entrepreneurial university

Higher education landscape reforms: the marketization agenda

The 'engaged' university

Public universities at a crossroads

Conclusions

Chapter 7 - Rethinking the Public Scientist

Citizen science

Public engagement: the concept

Public engagement: the contradictions

Public engagement: the benign rhetoric