Translating Science to Benefit Diverse Publics: Engagement Pathways for Linking Climate Risk, Uncertainty, and Agricultural Identities

Leith, P. & Vanclay, F., Nov-2015, In : Science technology & human values. 40, 6, p. 939-964 26 p.

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  • Leith & Vanclay 2015 translating science to benefit diverse publics

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We argue that for scientists and science communicators to build usable knowledge for various publics, they require social and political capital, skills in boundary work, and ethical acuity. Drawing on the context of communicating seasonal climate predictions to farmers in Australia, we detail four key issues that scientists and science communicators would do well to reflect upon in order to become effective and ethical intermediaries. These issues relate to (1) the boundary work used to link science and values and thereby construct public identities, (2) emplacement, that is, the importance of situating knowledge in relation to the places with which people identify, (3) personal and organizational processes of reflexivity, and (4) the challenges of developing and maintaining the social and political capital necessary to simultaneously represent people's identities and lifeworlds and the climate systems that affect them. Through a discourse analysis of in-depth interviews with Australian agro-climatologists, we suggest that three distinct modes of extension are apparent, namely, discursive, conceptual, and contextual. Our participants used these three modes interdependently to create knowledge that has salience, credibility, and legitimacy. They thereby generated new narratives of place, practice, and identity for Australian agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)939-964
Number of pages26
JournalScience technology & human values
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2015


  • engagement, intervention, environmental practices, expertise, politics, power, governance, space, place, scale dynamics, FARMING STYLES, DECISION-SUPPORT, POLICY, KNOWLEDGE, AUSTRALIA, SUSTAINABILITY, MANAGEMENT, EXTENSION, MODEL

ID: 25603760