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Translating science to benefit diverse publics: engagement pathways for linking climate risk, uncertainty, and agricultural identities


Leith, P and Vanclay, F, Translating science to benefit diverse publics: engagement pathways for linking climate risk, uncertainty, and agricultural identities, Science, Technology and Human Values, 40, (6) pp. 939-964. ISSN 0162-2439 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1177/0162243915577636


We argue that for scientists and science communicators to build usable knowledge for various publics, they require social and political capital, skills in boundary work, and ethical acuity. Drawing on the context of communicating seasonal climate predictions to farmers in Australia, we detail four key issues that scientists and science communicators would do well to reflect upon in order to become effective and ethical intermediaries. These issues relate to (1) the boundary work used to link science and values and thereby construct public identities, (2) emplacement, that is, the importance of situating knowledge in relation to the places with which people identify, (3) personal and organizational processes of reflexivity, and (4) the challenges of developing and maintaining the social and political capital necessary to simultaneously represent people’s identities and lifeworlds and the climate systems that affect them. Through a discourse analysis of in-depth interviews with Australian agro-climatologists, we suggest that three distinct "modes of extension" are apparent, namely, discursive, conceptual, and contextual. Our participants used these three modes interdependently to create knowledge that has salience, credibility, and legitimacy. They thereby generated new narratives of place, practice, and identity for Australian agriculture.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:engagement, intervention, environmental practices, expertise, politics, power, governance, space/place/scale dynamics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)
UTAS Author:Leith, P (Dr Peat Leith)
ID Code:105562
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2016-01-07
Last Modified:2016-05-23

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