Institutions for Civic Technoscience: How Critical Making is Transforming Environmental Research

Sara Ann Wylie, Kirk Jalbert, Shannon Dosemagen, Matt Ratto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


This article explores the changing relationship between the academy and new public formations of scientific research, which we term "civic technoscience." Civic technoscience leverages tactics seen in critical making communities to question and transform how and who can make credible and actionable knowledge. A comparison of two case studies is used. The first is a grassroots mapping process that allows communities to generate high-quality aerial imagery. The second is an academic-led project using environmental sensors to engage disparate audiences in scientific practice. These two projects were found to differ in their ability to form strategic spaces for community-based science, and suggest pathways to foster more robust relationships across the public-academic divide. By altering power dynamics in material, literary, and social technologies used for scientific research, we argue that civic technoscience enables citizens to question expert knowledge production through critical making tactics, and creates opportunities to generate credible public science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-126
Number of pages11
JournalInformation Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Public Lab
  • civic science
  • critical making
  • environmental justice
  • social movements
  • technoscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Cultural Studies
  • Information Systems
  • Political Science and International Relations


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