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Citizen Science as Resistance: Crossing the Boundary Between Reference and Representation

Journal article
Authors Christopher Kullenberg
Published in Journal of Resistance Studies
Volume 1
Issue 1
Pages 50-77
ISSN 2001-9947
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 50-77
Language en
Subject categories Theory of science


This article analyses citizen science as a resistance practice with regards to the contradictions that emerge when scientific methods are used for political struggles. Departing from how science and politics are constructed as a contrast, as recently put forth by philosopher Bruno Latour, the scientific method for creating reference and the political method for gaining representation are analysed as they are articulated in citizen science. This evokes further contradictions between local acts of resistance and the global aspirations of scientific methods, challenging both the particularity of micropolitics and the universality of science. Building on previous case studies of citizen science practices, a number of conclusions are drawn regarding the potentials and dangers emerging from a science that takes place in the peripheries of established institutions. The article concludes that citizen science can be a very successful resistance practice, as long as it is able to produce novel facts that still adhere to scientific methods and standards and remains connected to the established institutions of science.

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