Prince Claus Chair inaugural lecture by Sebastián Ureta

Beyond co-creation: Sketching a critical citizen science for a world on fire
Prince Claus Chairholder 2023-2025
Friday 21 Jun 2024, 16:00 - 17:00
Inaugural lecture
Spoken Language
Aula and via livestream
International Institute of Social Studies
I'd like to attend the inaugural lecture Add to calendar
Sebastian Ureta unaugural lecture - hands with pipette

The new Prince Claus Chair holder, Professor Sebastian Ureta will give his inaugural lecture on mobilization of citizen technoscience to remedy environmental degradation in the Global South.

Professor Ureta will focus on exploring, analysing and disrupting the barriers facing the mobilization of citizen technoscience for the participative assessment and/or remediation of environmental degradation in the Global South.

Sebastian Ureta
Sebastian Ureta

A critique of citizen science

In recent years, citizen science (CS) has been widely recognized as a leading way to bring the production of scientific knowledge closer to citizens and communities, increasing social engagement with science while democratizing scientific practice. This positive assessment has led to the development of a wide range of CS initiatives worldwide, especially regarding environmental matters. 

This popularity, however, has not been without controversy. A growing number of researchers have argued that it is not uncommon for CS initiatives to end up generating effects directly contrary to those predicted. Instead of promoting a real rapprochement between scientists and the public, CS initiatives end up considering the citizenry mostly as cheap labourr, refusing to acknowledge any epistemic value on them, and frequently indoctrinating them about the qualities of the status quo, both epistemic and socioenvironmental. 

Based on a CS project related to soil pollution carried out in Chile in the last decade, Professor Ureta will argue for the urgent need to develop a critical citizen science for engaging with a world in fire. Motivated by principles of social and epistemic justice, critical CS will start by acknowledging inequality and violence as framework components of any participative intervention in science. 

Discarding the usual aim of producing cheap data and social acceptance, these projects should aim at turning science and technology into powerful tools for ongoing struggles for socioenvironmental justice in fragmented worlds. Instead of naïvely celebrating the power of science, critical CS should be challenging and fractious, never shying away from controversy, but with higher chances of making real impacts in the lives of human and nonhuman populations in need. 

More information

The Prince Claus Chair in Equity and Development was established by Utrecht University and the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2003, and rotates annually between the two institutions.

The aim of the chair is to boost the career of outstanding young researchers from developing countries and to stimulate knowledge sharing. The universities wish to use the chair to advance research and education in the field of equity and development in accordance with the views and insights of Prince Claus.

Related links
Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes