Davies: Knowing and Loving: Public Engagement beyond Discourse

  • Sarah R Davies

Abstract

This article builds on STS scholarship on public engagement with science to refl ect on the role of the non-discursive, arguing that this has been under-studied in analyses of engagement. I make this point in three stages: I review literature that has analysed public engagement, suggesting that it can be understood as focusing on process, eff ects, framing or context, and has therefore largely ignored features such as site, materiality and aff ect; I draw on recent work in political theory to emphasise the importance of the emotional and creative within deliberation; and I present an example of what it might look like to be attentive to emotion in public participation by exploring the role of pleasure in engagement activities. As a whole this discussion is used to point to a lacuna in studies of public engagement, and to suggest some implications for both practice and empirical research.