This paper describes a science intervention in an environmental health issue where residents adjoining a chemical plant were concerned about suspected exposure to dioxin 2,3,7,8-TCDD. The issue was characterised by long-standing controversy between government, science, and community. A social science approach was utilised to facilitate engagement with the affected community and multiple stakeholders, and to design a multi-disciplinary science investigation.
This paper reappraises the dynamics of practice in this setting and draws on the theory of boundary critique (Midgley, 2000) and boundary arrangements (Hoppe 2002; 2005) to explore how the social science worked as an integrative discipline. As a ‘soft’ science in a hard science institutional setting, this explores how the work done from a social science disciplinary stance enabled the boundary spaces, hardened by long-standing conflict, to be made malleable.
|Keywords:||Boundary Critique, Conflict, Boundary Traffic, Boundary Work, Rhetorical Bridging, Science, Policy, Community Consultation, Local Knowledge, Interdisciplinary|
Social Scientist, Integrative Research for Sustainability Group (IRfS), Institute of Environmental Science & Research Limited (ESR), Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand
LyondellBasell Industries, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Institute of Environmental Science & Research Limited (ESR), Christchurch, New Zealand
Director of Public Health, Dorset Primary Care Trust, UK, Dorset Primary Care Trust, NHS, Dorset, UK
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