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Everybody knows?: Conversational coproduction in communication of addiction expertise
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5576-0600
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168261ISBN: 978-91-7797-717-9 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-718-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168261DiVA, id: diva2:1307956
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
List of papers
1. Coproduction of Scientific Addiction Knowledge in Everyday Discourse
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coproduction of Scientific Addiction Knowledge in Everyday Discourse
2016 (English)In: Contemporary Drug Problems, ISSN 0091-4509, E-ISSN 2163-1808, Vol. 43, no 1, p. 25-46Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The phenomenon of addiction enables studies of how society governs citizens and produces (healthy) bodies through classifications and definitions within treatment, science, and politics. Definitions and explanations of addiction change over time, and collective narratives of addiction in society are shared between scientific, official, and colloquial discourses. It is thus reasonable to argue that scientists, clinicians, and practitioners, as well as politicians, journalists, and laypersons, co-create addiction as a (bio)medical, social, and cultural phenomenon defined by varying actions, experiences, contexts, and meanings. The mass media is a key link between science and citizens. Explanations and definitions of the nature and causes of, and solutions for, addiction are provided by science and communicated to the rest of the society in popular scientific representations. While the language of scientific discourse is actively used, reproduced, and redefined in everyday language, laypersons are seldom acknowledged as active participants in studies of knowledge coproduction. This study examines how 25 newspaper readers interpret and explain dimensions of addiction phenomena through their own knowledge and interpretation of scientific representations in the media. The analysis shows how (popular) scientific biomedical addiction discourse interacts with newspaper readers’ interpretations, focusing on lay discussion of the causes of and solutions for addiction, how lay coproduction of scientific explanations is made, and how we can understand it. The study contributes to our understanding of the complex network of interacting and competing actors coproducing knowledge of addiction, emphasizing laypersons’ involvement in this process.

Keywords
addiction interviews medicalization media science and technology studies coproduction of knowledge
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134588 (URN)10.1177/0091450916636896 (DOI)
Projects
Kunskapsproduktion, kommunikation och användning. Biomedicinsk alkoholforskning som ett framväxande kunskapsfältMedia representations and lay interpretations of biomedical research on alcohol
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Available from: 2016-10-11 Created: 2016-10-11 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved
2. Experiences and expertise of codependency: Repetition, claim-coupling, and enthusiasm
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experiences and expertise of codependency: Repetition, claim-coupling, and enthusiasm
2019 (English)In: Public Understanding of Science, ISSN 0963-6625, E-ISSN 1361-6609, Vol. 28, no 2, p. 146-160Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Arenas where experts interact with publics are useful platforms for communication and interaction between actors in the field of public health: researchers, practitioners, clinicians, patients, and laypersons. Such coalitions are central to the analysis of knowledge coproduction. This study investigates an initiative for assembling expert and other significant knowledge which seeks to create better interventions and solutions to addiction-related problems, in this case codependency. But what and whose knowledge is communicated, and how? The study explores how processes of repetition, claim-coupling, and enthusiasm produce a community based on three boundary beliefs: (1) victimized codependent children failed by an impaired society; (2) the power of daring and sharing; and (3) the (brain) disease model as the scientific representative and explanation for (co)dependence. These processes have legitimized future hopes in certain suffering actors, certain lived and professional expertise and also excluded social scientific critique, existing interventions, and alternative accounts.

Keywords
codependency, interaction experts/publics, lived expertise, public participation, science communication, studies of science and technology
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158750 (URN)10.1177/0963662518792807 (DOI)000456433700002 ()
Projects
Kunskapsproduktion, kommunikation och användning. Biomedicinsk alkoholforskning som ett framväxande kunskapsfält
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Available from: 2018-08-13 Created: 2018-08-13 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved
3. “I’ll look into it!” Conversational coproduction within county politics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“I’ll look into it!” Conversational coproduction within county politics
(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
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:nbn:se:su:diva-168260 (URN)
Projects
Kunskapsproduktion, kommunikation och användning. Biomedicinsk alkoholforskning som ett framväxande kunskapsfält
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-0691
Available from: 2019-04-27 Created: 2019-04-27 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved

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