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You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1500 titles.
Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.
Science, in its very basic sense, means knowledge, from the Latin scientia; and democracy, in its very basic sense, means rule of the people, from the Greek demos (people) and kratos (rule). Throughout history, science and democracy have each developed with a keen ability to alter their shape in various contexts. Nevertheless, science has come to denote certain ways of producing knowledge as opposed to others, and democracy is associated with particular modes of governance as opposed to others. The reason why it is impossible to not use the plural in relation to these two concepts – ways of producing knowledge and modes of governance – is simply that there are multiple versions and practices of doing both science and democracy. Even so, science and democracy have taken shape as the grandeurs of modern societies. This suggests there is something fixed about them: science has become established as the best way of producing knowledge and democracy has become established as the best mode of governance. Of course, the grandeur refers to the general ideas and principles that are associated with science and democracy, respectively. Even though these ideas and principles have generated deep thoughts, lengthy discussions, and many thick books, dominating versions of both science and democracy can be summed up in one word: representation. Scientists represent nature and elected politicians represent the people. To gain legitimate authority, however, representations and representatives must resonate with the represented. It is this resonance and the relational aspect involved in both science and democracy that distinguish them as particular ways of producing knowledge and particular modes of governance.
This chapter traces breath in mothers’ stories about bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic to contribute to a theorization of breath and breathing as feminist politics (Ahmed, 2010; Górska, 2018; Irigaray, 2004). Drawing on feminist new materialist thought that recognizes breath as intra-active phenomena (Barad, 2007; Górska, 2016), we configure breath as a mode reflection and attention to the material politics of living through crisis. We argue that breath is a material force that shapes lived experiences by materializing mother subjectivities that indicate inequalities around who bears responsibility for protecting children in crises. When the agency of the material world is acknowledged, smoky and virus-filled air eludes human control, leaving mothers to experience what one participant characterized as ‘mum-guilt’ over their ‘failure’ to prevent children’s exposure to the effects of smoke and COVID-19. A new materialist orientation to breath disrupts notions of human exceptionalism that scaffold notions of women having sole or primary control over the health and wellbeing of their (un)born children. Instead, women are recast as an inextricable part of a complex web of material relations where responsibility is materially distributed and not individually held. At a theoretical level at least, this conceptualization releases participants from ‘mum-guilt’ by recasting this responsibility to the world.
As an interlude, this chapter is an effort to connect, bridge, and provide an overlap between the other two parts of this book: Separation and Co-production. In this work, the picture of a clear division between science and politics is complicated. The focus is on science and politics as two separate activities with their own institutions and practices, but the chapter also turns to the question of how the interplay between science and politics is understood in terms of overlaps and connections. Better communication, increased proximity, or more interaction while maintaining an arm’s-length distance – there are many expressions of how science and politics connect and should be connected; and from the science side, they can be summarized as an ambition to make science relevant to policy, to make it close to politics but not too close (Gieryn 1995: 435, referring to Jasanoff 1990). In other words, policy-relevant research involves a balancing act between separation and integration (Sundqvist et al 2015, 2018). According to this view, research must be sufficiently separate to maintain its autonomy, but integrated enough to be socially relevant. This ambition entails a critique of an overly strong division, but also points out the risks that one side will take command of the other. From this perspective, a scientization of politics and a politicization of science are both highly undesirable and considered as risks. There is thus a need for a proper distance between science and politics. To be fair, it is noted that several of the approaches and perspectives presented in Chapter 3 devote a great deal of effort to understanding the interplay between science and politics.
This book explores the relationship between science and democracy from an STS perspective. Through the focus on the interplay between science and politics and the role of participation when it comes to highly expert-dependent issues, the book contributes important insights into the relation between science and democracy. The book also introduces STS as a field of research and presents an overview of classical and current STS scholarship and debates with a special focus on science and democracy. The main argument is that science and democracy belong together - they are co-produced - and are separate. The book takes the reader on a journey that starts by emphasizing the differences between science and democracy and then introduces their similarities and interdependencies. The journey goes through three parts: separation, overlap, and co-production. The book concludes by summarizing specific contributions of STS research to the discussion of science and democracy, based on four themes: representation and participation; separation and hybridization; situated practices and democratic theory; and STS and normativity.
This chapter goes deeper into the complex relation between science and democracy. Previous chapters discussed how science and politics are separate and that one elite (scientific experts) is delegated the power to represent nature (as knowledge objects) and another elite (decision makers, not only elected politicians but broadly speaking) is delegated the power to represent the people. This double delegation (delegative democracy) is based on a distinction between what is represented and who can represent. These two forms of representation divide the world into the two domains of knowledge and politics and, in addition, create a sharp division between those who are in power (the two elites) and those who are not (the ignorant mass). However, these separate domains are also interlinked, and the boundaries between them and their authority and legitimacy can always be questioned and change over time. The separation between science and democracy, between representatives and represented, is a joint product. One of the most important ideas within STS research is that knowledge and social order are intertwined or, as it is often expressed, co-produced (Jasanoff 2004a). Science and democracy are not independent from each other. Democracies legitimize and back up decisions and reforms with expert knowledge, and an uneven distribution of knowledge and education in a society is seen as a democracy problem (Sismondo 2010: 80). Governing requires knowledge, and science is intermingled with power. Science and democracy may be the result of a joint process, but they are often presented as separate, which has consequences for how practices are performed and leads to what they have in common being concealed. Knowledge is understood and presented as being independent of social order and power, especially in the scientific community.
The concluding chapter weaves together the key themes of the book, to reflect on the interconnection of community, politics and justice in communal growing projects, in the way they claim spaces in the city and their articulation of alternative and autonomous ways of living. It highlights the productive ambivalence of the spaces, particularly knitting together inclusionary and radical reimaginations of the city with boundary work and strategic neutrality that effectively positions the sites beyond politics. It argues that attending to the afterlives of growing, how it moves and changes, is critical both for assessing the politics of growing projects and for attending to their purported place in sustainable cities. The chapter offers reflections on what might be taken forward in such sustainable work and the enduring attraction of communal growing as a research space, as well as the shifting opportunity structure within Scotland’s policy landscape that might facilitate a greater value being placed on communal growing projects as a critical part of the city’s social infrastructure.
Drawing on Morgan’s (2011) conceptualization of family as entailing a sense of the active, and seeking to highlight the (continuing) significance of birth families in care-experienced lives, Chapter 3 addresses the significance of the ‘ordinary’. Undeniably, care-experienced people have often faced significant challenges within their family lives. But focusing only on documenting those adversities runs the risk of engaging in a dividing practice (see Foucault, 1983), whereby care-experienced people – and care-experienced families – are reduced to the problems they have faced. Accordingly, this chapter draws attention to ‘ordinary’ memories within extraordinary childhoods, encompassing narratives of regular, ritual and habitual family practices and the importance of these within participants’ accounts.
In Chapter 4, I define markets as fields of strategic action based on Fligstein’s theoretical framework (2001). I point out that Fligstein offers a relevant approach to analysing the interplay between diverse actors in a market context. While Granovetter points out that economic actors are also social actors enmeshed in social networks (1985), Fligstein describes the ‘politics’ that are played out within and between firms on markets as fields of strategic action. These politics concern ‘intra-firm’ negotiations to settle on specific ‘conceptions of control’ that set the direction for said firms’ strategies in the market (2001: 35). They also concern the specific ‘market orders’ that emerge between companies in market contexts as a way of handling competition between them (2001: 16). Thus, Fligstein, along with Beckert, points out that competition does not represent an ideal state of affairs but rather a problem to be handled through various kinds of coordination. Indeed, the state of competition often heralded as the ideal in classic economics is a characteristic of emerging markets and is typically replaced with more stable orders where ‘incumbents’ divide the world between them to keep ‘challengers’ out as a market matures. In this chapter, I will analyse the way game titles and publishers are distributed across the different contexts of economic exchange offered on the Steam platform from this perspective.
In the previous chapter, I observed how the notion of platforms has changed throughout recent decades from signifying a computational system (Bogost and Montfort, 2009) or a programmable architecture (Van Dijck et al, 2018) to a more general principle of organization (Kenney and Zysman, 2020; Stark and Pais, 2020) and a business model aimed at cornering markets and reaching monopoly status (Langley and Leyshon, 2017; Srnicek, 2017; Peck and Phillips, 2020). This can be related somewhat to the general transformation of platform companies and market orders during this time span, such as the change in the game industry from a market order dominated by a few console owners to one dominated by large tech companies from outside the gaming industry. While the platform as a computational system or programmable architecture is easily identified as the key principle of power in a market order controlled by console owners, the large tech companies control the market through their storefronts or extended market places (Doyle, 2013) and through their financial power to dominate the entire market field. One significant theme that runs through this course of development is the integration of retail into platform architectures, and the increasing focus on platforms as markets. Thus, another aspect of platforms which is often foregrounded is that they constitute multi-sided markets (Rochet and Tirole, 2003; Evans and Schmalensee, 2016; Van Dijck et al, 2018) that let different groups of customers meet on attractive terms.
What continues and what changes over time in communal growing? Research on communal growing tends to take a snapshot in time, focusing on the phenomenon at a moment rather than considering them over longer durations in more longitudinal research. This chapter unpacks some of the changes over time within the garden, addressing later evolutions in inclusion and transformative projects. Understanding projects as fluid and reactive to the environment, this argues for a longer period of study to think through reactions to the broader urban environment and social milieu. Reflecting on crises faced by the sites in the early 2020s – both the COVID-19 pandemic and a local murder – allows too for the strength and resilience of the sites, their use as social infrastructure, to emerge.