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The epistemology of mobilizing citizens in the sciences: Tensions in epistemic cultures of contribution and ideals of science

Chapter in book
Authors Dick Kasperowski
Christopher Kullenberg
Frauke Rohden
Published in Designs for Experimentation and Inquiry Approaching Learning and Knowing in Digital Transformation / edited by Åsa Mäkitalo, Todd E. Nicewonger and Mark Elam.
Pages 158-176
ISBN 9781138592735
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Oxon & New York
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 158-176
Language en
Keywords Education Educational Psychology Research Methods in Education Sociology of Education Curriculum Studies Technology in Education
Subject categories Learning, Theory of science, Educational Sciences


This chapter offers suggestions on how to arrive at a “social epistemology of inclusion” of outsiders into scientific practice through digital mediation. Here, we propose studying the “epistemic cultures of contribution”, that is, the ideals and values of citizen science projects as they are enacted by their initiators and contributors. Our premise is that contradictions exist in such epistemic cultures of contribution that might reveal some characteristics of the social epistemologies of inclusion, as outsiders become contributors in scientific work. Ambitions to open up science to the outsider do not occur in a contextual vacuum. The development of digital mediation, in particular large online platforms, has created the possibilities of the current spread of different initiatives in the field of citizen science. Furthermore, during the second decade of the twenty-first century, citizen science was addressed frequently by science policy, and several reports have cherished this phenomenon as an innovative form of participation in and democratisation of science . Citizen science initiatives are accompanied by high expectations, particularly in science policy, as a response to concerns about populism and “fact resistance”.

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