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Epistemic cultures in citizen science and humanities: Distribution, epistemic subjects, programs and anti-programs

Conference paper
Authors Dick Kasperowski
Frauke Rohden
Christopher Kullenberg
Published in Meetings: Making, science, technology and society together. EASST2018, 25-28 July, Lancaster University
Publisher Lancaster University
Place of publication Lancaster, UK
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords citizen science, epistemic cultures, epistemic subjects, distribution, programs, anti-programs
Subject categories Theory of science


Inclusion in epistemic cultures in citizen science and humanities projects are conditional, often relying on minimizing the realization of volunteers as epistemic subjects as a necessity for mass mobilization and distribution of tasks. However, such cultural processes are outside the control of owners of projects. Projects aiming for scientific output (peer-reviewed publications) must have an instance in the research process were citizens are constructed as on par with researchers to assure data quality. These instances are often situated in the participatory protocols (programs) harnessing some kind of ability of the crowd, which make their participation and contributions valid for research. At the same time, projects also uphold boundaries between citizens and researchers. Intuitively, this might not be necessary as researchers by their professional training have acquired abilities beyond volunteer contributors. In practice, such boundaries are not so clear. The aim of this paper is to present preliminary results from when and how such boundaries are challenged as epistemic subjects come into being beyond what is expected by owners of projects. The purpose is to illuminate the relationship between the citizen as constructed as a contributor to research with specific, but static qualities (programs), and the development of contributors over time, as epistemic subjects realizing themselves through anti-programs. Data consists of interactions in the epistemic cultures of researchers and contributors on discussion forums on platforms for citizen science and humanities projects.

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