2003. Lee and Roth. "Science and the “Good Citizen”: Community-Based Scientific Literacy"


ARTICLE 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: (1) the activists' use of landscape and spatial arrangements, (2) the importance of multiple representations of the same entity (e.g., a local creek), (3) the relational aspect of knowing and becoming part of a community, and (4) the insertion of scientific into moral discourse, resulting in what they call a "stewardship triad."


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Created date

May 26, 2018

Critical Commentary

In this 2003 article, Stuart Lee and Wolff-Michael Roth use vignettes from their ethnographic fieldwork with a grassroots environmentalist group to argue for the need to hybridize scientific practice with other discourses and forms of representation to make it legible and meaningful to a wider audience.