Science and the “Good Citizen”: Community-Based Scientific Literacy

Science, Technology and Human Values 28 (3):403-424 (2003)
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Abstract

Science literacy is frequently touted as a key to good citizenship. Based on a two-year ethnographic study examining science in the community, the authors suggest that when considering the contribution of scientific activity to the greater good, science must be seen as forming a unique hybrid practice, mixed in with other mediating practices, which together constitute “scientifically literate, good citizenship.” This case study, an analysis of an open house event organized by a grassroots environmentalist group, presents some examples of activities that embed science in “good citizenship.” Through a series of vignettes, the authors focus on four central aspects: the activists' use of landscape and spatial arrangements, the importance of multiple representations of the same entity, the relational aspect of knowing and becoming part of a community, and the insertion of scientific into moral discourse, resulting in what they call a “stewardship triad.”

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