Social scientists operate in a range of roles within the public engagement with science and technology (PEST) agenda. Social scientists strengths in respect to ‘translation’ and ‘intermediary’ skills have captured attention at a time of disciplinary pressure to demonstrate impact. This article explores how social scientists engaged in PEST consider their role(s), drawing on 21 semi-structured interviews and Horst and Michael’s (2011) proposals of an emergence model, in addition to ongoing discussions related to expertise. The findings suggest there are many benefits when social scientists engage with ‘strangers’, both scientific and public, but that focusing only on pragmatic elements misses the true opportunity such working relationships can offer amongst critical friends.
Wilkinson, C. (2014). Engaging with strangers and brief encounters: Social scientists and emergent public engagement with science and technology. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 34(3-4), 63-76. https://doi.org/10.1177/0270467614552841