The University based Science Shops were established in the 1970s in the Netherlands, and in Denmark and other countries in the 1980s and 1990s. The aim was to give civil society organisations access to scientific knowledge and to empower citizen participation regarding environmental and social improvements. It has recently been suggested that the role of Science Shops should change as a consequence of the stated increasing professionalisation of the Non Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations, and of industry’s increasing interest in introducing environmental management measures. Increasing internationalisation of the environmental agenda has contributed to this as well as a general acceptance of environmental considerations in industry policy and strategy. However, with departure point in three different Science Shop projects, the article proposes that Science Shops are still important for empowering citizen through access to scientific knowledge by raising and documenting environmental issues, by assisting citizens with knowledge supporting environmental sustainable activities, and by potentially raising alternative scientific agendas and develop alternative technological solutions. Thus, the article by underlining the role of science and Science Shops, address the debate on public understanding and participation in two ways: on the one hand by dissociating from the ‘deficit thinking’, in which citizens are regarded as lacking knowledge, and on the other hand by drawing attention to the importance of scientific and systematically argued knowledge as input in participatory processes.
|Journal||PATH Conference proceedings|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|