Fishing for Advice : the case of the Norwegian Reference Fleet
This dissertation is about the changing relationship between science and society and the attempt to organize knowledge production and advisory processes in new ways: How can the relations between science and society be organized in a way that ensures sound advice as well as democratic ideals such as transparency and inclusion? Is it possible to relax the boundary between science and society without making it too blurry? How can arenas be built where scientists and stakeholders can cooperate effectively in knowledge production? How can lay people and their knowledge be included in advisory processes? To include stakeholders and at the same provide sound scientific advice, new solutions that require more openness in scientific processes are called for. In order to explore such solutions, the dissertation turn to the fisheries sector, where the top-down, traditional divide between science and other forms of knowledge is obvious: scientists are the experts with relevant and reliable knowledge for fisheries management. In recent decades, however, fisher stakeholders are identified as having valuable knowledge based on their experiences. Some also argue that fishers are experience based experts. But how to include them in a meaningful way, and how they are experts, are issues that are still open for debate. In Norway, the Institute of Marine Research runs a project called the Norwegian Reference Fleet, where fishers are invited to participate in knowledge production for advice. The Reference Fleet project provides a relevant framework to investigate empirically how to solve dilemmas related to the organization of knowledge production and advisory processes in more open, yet effective ways. The thesis makes a detailed account of how fishers are included by describing the knowledge chains in which they participate, and what happens to the knowledge as it is made to circulate and used for advice in fisheries management issues. Based on ethnographic methods, the Reference Fleets’ knowledge production has been followed wherever it has taken place: in laboratories and at sea; and in formal and informal settings. Theoretically, this thesis is supported by Science and Technology Studies, and Actor Network Theory in particular. The thesis aims to contribute to the on-going discourses on the 'lay expert' and how to open up science for stakeholders. It demonstrates that it is possible to include stakeholders in knowledge production for advice, and that lay people can become experts. However, it also argues that this hinges on participation at appropriate stages in the process, and that lay people, like scientists, needs access to both laboratories and authorization mechanisms in order to be included or be part of the expertise.
ForlagUniversity of Tromsø
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