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Hensle, Lara, 2018. Creating knowledge and considering power : a frame analysis of science-policy communication. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



The environmental science and policy literature understands science-policy communication mainly as the communication between scientists and political decision-makers. Most of the literature points out that decision-making is not science-based enough due to problems in the communication between scientists and politicians, such as scientific results not being understandable for policy-makers. The literature suggests that to solve these communication problems, scientists and political decision-makers should co-create knowledge, for example, through working together on reports.

Being part of the field of environmental communication, I take a constructivist approach to studying science-policy communication. A constructivist worldview implies that, depending on a person’s background, experiences, and context, there can be different understandings of science-policy communication. Through my research, I aim to address the question: What can a constructivist approach contribute to the understanding of science-policy communication?

To do so, I use frame analysis to gain access to different understandings of science-policy communication. Frames highlight certain aspects of science-policy communication and downplay others. That means, depending on which aspects the frame emphasizes, science-policy communication is understood differently. The analysis focuses on a narrative of a science-policy communication practitioner and on scholarly literature that conceptualizes knowledge co-creation between science and policy-making and between science and society.

The results depict different science-policy communication frames and the discussion illustrates that these frames are based on different assumptions. Some frames include the assumption that knowledge creates change, whereas, another frame challenges the basic idea that knowledge alone leads to change by emphasizing that science-policy communication takes place in a power context. These differing assumptions are the basis for diverse understandings of science-policy communication.

Differing understandings have implications for when science-policy communication takes place. For example, depending on the understanding, actors will act in different ways in the science-policy communication process and they will consider differently who is a science-policy communication participant. Also, when actors draw on diverse understandings of science-policy communication, communicating about it will prove to be difficult.

In sum, this thesis shows that there are different science-policy communication frames and discusses the implications that different understandings have for when science-policy communication takes place. Thus, it contributes through a constructivist approach to a more comprehensive understanding of science-policy communication.

Main title:Creating knowledge and considering power
Subtitle:a frame analysis of science-policy communication
Authors:Hensle, Lara
Supervisor:Westin, Martin
Examiner:Joosse, Sofie
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2018
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:science-policy communication, frame analysis, boundary organization, mode 2 knowledge production, practitioner profile
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Documentation and information
Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:13 Sep 2018 06:52
Metadata Last Modified:20 May 2020 10:53

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