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“I’ll look into it!” Conversational coproduction within county politics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5576-0600
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the interaction between civil servants and politicians in a planning committee in a Swedish county council. As the committees are venues for preparation of future decision-making, civil servants and others are invited to inform and report to the politicians on different topics. The aim is to explore this local interaction process based on an analysis of requests and responses. It is shown that the communication between civil servants and politicians is pervaded by sociability in the form of conversational routines. The article aims to recognize this sociability as an intrinsic part of knowledge coproduction processes. Civil servants and politicians negotiate different types of professional, common, and altruistic knowledge claims through routines that dislocate time, responsibility, roles, and protocol order.These activities – important but often circumvented in studies of policy-making – are explored as instances of conversational coproduction. 

Keywords [en]
coproduction of knowledge, conversation analysis, conversational coproduction, sociability, experts, civil servants, politicians, politics, drug policy, addiction
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168260OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168260DiVA, id: diva2:1307546
Projects
Kunskapsproduktion, kommunikation och användning. Biomedicinsk alkoholforskning som ett framväxande kunskapsfält
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-0691Available from: 2019-04-27 Created: 2019-04-27 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Everybody knows?: Conversational coproduction in communication of addiction expertise
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Everybody knows?: Conversational coproduction in communication of addiction expertise
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The coproduction idiom within Science and Technology Studies (STS) centers on how science and society produce knowledge together. The current thesis explores expert communication – which is immersed in the relationship between science and society – as a case for understanding such coproducing processes. Expert communication is often characterized as a democratic initiative of knowledge enlightenment. But we know less about the consequences that communication initiatives bring. For instance, while groups of publics and experts are large and heterogeneous, expert communication often involves simplified and dichotomized relationships between these groups. The aim of this thesis is to understand the practice of expert communication in terms of how expertise is communicated and received. Who gets to represent experts and publics, in what ways and in which situations, and how do they engage with expertise?

Expert communication takes place in all kinds of fields. The focus of this thesis is communication of addiction expertise. The addiction field makes a suitable case for studying co-constitutive practices of communication, as it is broad and disparate, and filled with different contradictory perspectives, actors and relations. The current study explores communication of addiction expertise through three cases that involve different types of experts and publics, as well as different dimensions of the expert/public relationships and of communication as a process of coproduction: Newspaper readers’ interpretations of media representations of biomedical addiction expertise, conference participants’ collaboration within a conference on codependency, and civil servants’ and politicians’ interaction within county council committee meetings. Drawing on STS approaches of coproduction of knowledge and classical sociological conversation analysis, the thesis explores questions of how, what, and whose knowledge is communicated and received, and what activities and actors are involved in these processes. A specific focus is put on how sociability in the form of conversational routines is productive, as sociability carries expertise and establishes relations between actors involved in coproducing processes of communication.

Publics are not only recipients of expertise but also active enablers of how expertise comes into being in the everyday society, as publics engage with expertise through filtering and intertwining expertise through and with their personal experiences. Expertise, at least regarding human and social activities such as addiction, is thus bound to everyday experiences and lives. It is also shown how certain expertise, certain experiences, and certain actors and victims of addiction related problems are included while others are excluded. For example, biomedical explanations such as the reward system and the brain disease model seem to co-exist well with peoples’ personal experiences in contrast to social scientific explanations. Moreover, certain actors manage to draw on personal experiences in multiple roles as both experts and publics. Introducing the concept of conversational coproduction, the studies also highlight the sociability and conversational routines involved in expert communication as crucial for (de)establishing relations and making expertise flow or freeze in local coproducing processes as well as for understanding consequences of expert communication and its relation to public participation and democracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 89
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 76
Keywords
conversational coproduction, coproduction of knowledge, science and technology studies, expert communication, science communication, public participation, publics, experts, addiction, codependency, media, politics, conversation analysis, biomedicalization
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168261 (URN)978-91-7797-717-9 (ISBN)978-91-7797-718-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-06-14, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Knowledge production, communication and utilization; Biomedical alcohol research as an emerging field of knowledge
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-0691
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-05-22 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-05-14Bibliographically approved

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