University of Oulu

Rautio, P., Tammi, T., Aivelo, T. et al. “For whom? By whom?”: critical perspectives of participation in ecological citizen science. Cult Stud of Sci Educ 17, 765–793 (2022).

“For whom? By whom?” : critical perspectives of participation in ecological citizen science

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Author: Rautio, Pauliina1; Tammi, Tuure1; Aivelo, Tuomas2;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-12-30


This paper is a search for common ground between two natural scientists, two childhood studies and education scholars and two human–animal studies or critical animal studies scholars all working within a shared citizen science project. The search takes the form of a thematic mapping of existing literature on ecological citizen science, with two questions: “Participation on whose terms?”, and “Participation for whose benefit?”. First, we draw from the field of childhood studies to show how the concept of participation can be theorized further. Second, we recontextualize ecological citizen science research from a multispecies perspective, following the non-anthropocentric turn in human and social sciences which has so far drawn limited attention both in educational research and in citizen science projects. We proceed by critically treading the blurry line between predetermined or science-led participation and emergent or participant-led research, forming a fruitful space for examining and reconceptualizing the prevailing human/nature distinction in science and pedagogy. What we end up proposing is not so much a solution to the issues we have located, but rather an invitation to consider participation as a possibility for engaging with the ongoing tensions regarding the apparatuses of power that guide the research practices, researchers’ thinking and ethics. For the democratic ethos of citizen science projects, these observations can result in an ongoing process of asking how would it be possible to make space for various knowledges to be regarded as such: How could different kinds of knowledge co-exist, potentially generating more just worlds?

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Series: Cultural studies of science education
ISSN: 1871-1502
ISSN-E: 1871-1510
ISSN-L: 1871-1502
Volume: 17
Issue: 3
Pages: 765 - 793
DOI: 10.1007/s11422-021-10099-9
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: Open Access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. Funding was provided by Academy of Finland (Grant No. 333438), Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, Kone Foundation, Emil Aaltonen Foundation.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 333438
Detailed Information: 333438 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
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