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Power, knowledge and the transformative potential of marine community science

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

A new paper has been published in Ocean and Coastal Management, authored by MSSRG members Ben McAteer and Wesley Flannery. The paper, titled 'Power, knowledge and the transformative potential of marine community science', presents a critical discussion on the potential of community science to function as a means of transforming marine management challenges. We consider how many community science projects are failing to realise their transformative potential and, instead, are reinforcing the status quo of governance, meaning that management challenges remain unsolved. We argue that, to understand how the full potential of community science can be achieved, research must reframe what transformation is and assess why projects often fail to instigate change. Currently, there is an under-appreciation of how transformational change must involve actions that challenge prevailing power relations. We address this gap by initiating a discussion on the political and power dimensions of community science. Informed by the Foucauldian concept of power/knowledge, we argue for a politicised paradigm of community science that recognises how transformation requires pluralism and critical self-reflection. The paper concludes by considering how power-aware community science could introduce new ways of knowing to marine governance and facilitate more active community participation.

To download an Open Access version of the paper, click below.

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