The Program for Society and the Environment and the Department of Sociology are hosting a presentation by Joseph McCartney Waggle, Ph.D. Candidate, PSE Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland. The title and abstract for the talk, as well as a brief bio, are below:
Scientists Say: A Case Study of Scientific Expertise in a Post-Modern Political Discourse.
What is the future of science and technology policy in a post-Trump America? In the long shadow of budget cuts, as yet unfilled scientific executive appointments, and antiscientific public statements from the administration, it is difficult to see much of a future at all for meaningful science policy in the US. However, optimism versus pessimism may be too simple a model to accurately answer this question. In this workshop, I present a chapter from my dissertation project, which analyzes the role that science and scientists play in the policymaking process, particular to climate change and energy politics. Triangulating data from three sources--transcripts from climate- and energy-focused administrative records, newspaper reports discussing climate change and energy issues, and interviews with the most engaged policy actors in the climate and energy policy arenas--at both the federal and state level, I have found that perspectives on the future of science are far more diverse than simple optimism and pessimism suggest. I will demonstrate that policy actors do not speak about the future of science policy in terms of whether or not the federal government will continue to prevaricate on the issue, or will resume leadership post-Trump. Instead, they universally speak about the future of science and technology policy in the United States in terms of what other organizational bodies and institutions will pick up the federal government's slack. Speakers tended to see this tumultuous political moment not as a roadblock to scientific and technological progress, but rather as an opportunity for a paradigm shift in American science policy leadership.
Joe McCartney Waggle is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland. His interests include the sociology of knowledge, environmental sociology, and science and technology studies (STS). He has studied the role of scientific consensus in policy making, as well as the role of scientific expertise in political debate. His dissertation critically analyzes the ways in which different political actors engage science and scientists in pursuit of their own political agendas in both the climate and energy policy arenas in the United States.