The Power of Place: How Local Engagement with Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste Re-situated Technoscience and Re-assembled the Public
Journal article, 2019
Intrigued by the role of geographical location in public engagement with science we examine the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership’s undertaking of one of the most extensive local public engagements with environmental risk science in the UK. The case study highlights this three-year long local engagement as a process that changed both science and the public. Differently from other invited public engagements controlled by scientists in spaces set aside from the everyday, the Partnership’s lay members led a process unfolding in the place that was potentially at risk. In contrast to public participation as experiments staged by experts the Partnership had the authority to demand that scientists addressed issues of local importance. The analysis uses the framing notions ‘re-situating technoscience’ and ‘re-assembling the public’, to capture how scientific knowledge claims were modified and a new local public emerged, at the intersection of public engagement with science and public participation in environmental risk governance in a specific place.