Analyzes current policy issues in the complex and every changing arena of environmental policy.
How do industrialized democracies make policy about science-heavy issues, especially environmental protection? How should they? We strive for public policies that incorporate our best scientific knowledge. But the processes of democratic decision-making also include public values and citizen participation. In this course, we will examine how science, values, and public participation intertwine in the making of public policy. You will learn - Why sound policy decisions can't be made on the basis of science alone; - How scientists, engineers, and other technical experts participate in policy-making; - How non-experts contribute to policy decisions on issues with heavy technical content; and - How scientific knowledge is shaped by policy processes.
Student learning goals
Explain how scientific knowledge and public policy are co-constructed; how scientific experts maintain their authority in politicized realms of science policy; and how ordinary citizens are included--or not--in making science policy.
Describe how scholars have approached the study of science in decision-making, and summarize their major findings and claims.
Analyze the role that science plays in a policy issue of interest to you.
General method of instruction
Pre-class readings, seminar discussion.
You should be comfortable reading scholarly texts and writing argumentative essays. Familiarity with the concept of social construction is useful but not necessary.
Class assignments and grading
Readings (2 - 3 articles or book chapters per class) Class participation Leading class discussion Weekly reflection papers Term paper (including proposal, literature review, and drafts)