Science in the Big Society

A quick post.  I meant to mention, and link to, this interesting post and discussion thread on Alice Bell’s excellent blog on Wednesday.  It was prompted by a Royal Society blog by Jack Stilgoe.   In a nutshell it is a discussion of the relevance of the Big Society to science. 

I notice that the British Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference is next May and that they are calling for proposals.  I must make a note to suggest that they do a session on the Big Society and what it means, or doesn’t mean, for us all.

It seems that between the notions of ‘engagement’ and ‘accountability’ that perhaps sit more easily with science for understandable reasons, at the heart of the Big Society lie some potential opportunities around participation and involvement.  But the ideas behind it that focus on self-definition and self-determination are much more challenging. 

In a meeting recently the CEO of another charity umbrella organisation said to me that, rather than interpret the Big Society in an unquestioning manner and for our own purposes, we should challenge its architects with our own collectivism and seek greater specificity and precision on what it is intended.  I tend to agree and it is why I was drawn to the discussion in the first place.

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