Publication Details

Marks, N. J. (2013). Six ideal types of public engagement with science and technology: reflections on capital, legitimacy and models of democracy. International Journal of Deliberative Mechanisms in Science, 2 (1), 33-61.


A number of researchers have been analysing apparent shifts from top-down approaches to public engagement with science and technology towards more participatory ones. Some have revealed the existence of often unacknowledged assumptions about how science and public should interact. These normative visions shape public engagement and may go against any shift towards inclusiveness. To further probe this, interviews with 41 stem cell scientists were carried out. They reveal diverse normative visions of publics, scientists, dialogue, relevant technical and political capital, and scientific citizenship. From this, six ideal types of public engagement with science and technology are constructed and connected to models of democracy. This typology, built on an analytical framework that draws on Science and Technology Studies, Sociology and Political Theory, can be used as a heuristic device to examine particular instances of (and discourses about) engagement. This enables reflections on their legitimacy and opens up for potential transformation the norms that underlie them.