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ERIC Number: EJ1029979
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
ISSN: ISSN-1534-6102
Engagement and Uncertainty: Emerging Technologies Challenge the Work of Engagement
Eaton, Weston; Wright, Wynne; Whyte, Kyle; Gasteyer, Stephen P.; Gehrke, Pat J.
Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, v18 n2 p151-177 2014
Universities' increasing applications of science and technology to address a wide array of societal problems may serve to thwart democratic engagement strategies. For emerging technologies, such challenges are particularly salient, as knowledge is incomplete and application and impact are uncertain or contested. Insights from science and technology studies (STS) are incorporated to examine the challenges that emerging technologies present to public engagement. Four distinct case summaries of public engagement in the emerging fields of nanotechnology and bioenergy are presented to demonstrate how the emergent character of the technology can stifle engagement. Specifically, the article explores issues related to emerging technologies and (1) defining and engaging with publics, (2) experiential variability among publics, and (3) frame contests. The goal is to sensitize engagement scholars and practitioners to these challenges as a way to minimize obstacles or tensions that may do harm rather than bolster meaningful and democratic engagement processes.
Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, University of Georgia and the Institute of Higher Education. Treanor House, 1234 South Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-6167; Fax: 706-542-6124; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A