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Saturday
Apr072012

Another cool book: van Rijswoud, Public faces of science

Found another really great book on-line:

Erwin van Rijswoud, Public faces of science: Experts and identity work in the boundary zone of science, policy and public debate (Radboud University Nijmegen, 2012).

It's actually van Rijswould's doctoral dissertation.

But anyway, the work examines Dutch scientists' impressions of how their work and expertise were received in various public policy debates, including ones on H1N1 vaccination, flood control, and HPV vaccination of adolescent girls.

The analyses are based on "biographical narrative." At the beginning of the work, he explains this method, which involves analytically motivated synthesis of interviews with the scientists, supplemented with other materials, and presented in a form that uses story-telling elements not typical at all for social science work (unlike typical ethnography, the voice is much more internal, almost "first person"). 

I was really interested in vR's discussion of HPV, an issue the CCP group has also studied. I hadn't realized that the issue was controversial in the Netherlands, too (likely I should be embarrassed to say that). I did know that England didn't have any trouble implementing a national immunization program, so there are definitely some great lessons to be learned through comparative study.

Also hadn't realized that there was political dispute over expert flood control advice in the Netherlands. Actually, efficient flood management in Holland & other regions of the country is often offered as an example of what the successful integration of science into policymaking is supposed to look like!

Thanks to van Rijswoud & Radboud University for making his work widely available & at no charge!

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