Katja Mayer Keynote at ECSA Conference on "Participatory Turns: ...

... The bumpy roads to recognition of participatory approaches in the social sciences, and lessons for citizen science

Section: Research Policy & Development

Date: 5. April 2024


As part of the ECSA conference our colleague Katja Mayer gives a keynote presentation. Please see for the source of this information. 


April 5, 2024
17:00-18:00, TÜWI HS01, Peter-Jordan-Straße 76, 1190 Vienna and Online

Katja Mayer

Participatory Turns: The bumpy roads to recognition of participatory approaches in the social sciences, and lessons for citizen science
The integration of societal participation into the production of scientific knowledge stands as a core principle within citizen science. Although participatory methods have a long tradition in the social sciences — exemplified by participatory action research in fields like sociology, education, and anthropology — a historical examination unveils the intricacies and obstacles tied to these methods' acceptance and application. Historically, participatory research often found recognition only on the fringes of academic discourse, encountering structural and power-related barriers. Moreover, the demarcation between political engagement and social science research was a recurring dilemma.

In my presentation, I will explore the intricate history of participatory research methodologies spanning various epistemic cultures and scholarly practices. I aim to shed light on the historical challenges these methods faced, including the power disparities disadvantaging participatory researchers and the hurdles in creating sustainable structures for such methodologies. Through specific examples, I will delve into the lessons that can be drawn for structuring and managing citizen science initiatives, particularly focusing on governing participation and acknowledging the contributions of all stakeholders in the collective knowledge production process. The aim is to delineate strategies through which participatory research can effectively navigate practical hurdles, thereby cultivating an inclusive, appreciative transdisciplinary research and development environment conducive to social change.


Katja Mayer is Elise Richter Fellow at the University of Vienna’s Department of Science and Technology Studies exploring the interface of science, technology, and society, with a particular emphasis on the politics of open science and data infrastructures in the social sciences. She has been part of the Horizon Europe CoAct Project, studying how evaluation of citizen science projects could be done more participatory.

Her research spans from research and innovation policy to science diplomacy. With prior experience in the IT industry, as visiting fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, as a research advisor to the President of the European Research Council, and postdoc at the TU Munich’s chair of Computational Social Sciences and Big Data, she’s well-versed in the practical and theoretical aspects of her field. Furthermore, she is senior scientist at the Center for Social Innovation ZSI in Vienna and member of the Uni Vienna research platform Governance of Digital Practices.



Type: Event organised by other institutions

Organizer: ECSA

Location: Wien


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Tags: citizen science, citizen social science

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