I wanted to introduce my readers to two very interesting projects (both with somewhat odd acronyms). The first is one I think I've mentioned before (but I'm too lazy to hunt down the reference) called COMPON - Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks. It's headed by a guy named Jeff Broadbent at the University of Minnesota, but it's really an international project. Basically they're using network analysis and media analysis to look at how climate change science is represented to the public and how it shapes climate policy. What's more, it's comparative. They have teams in several nations studying how different mediascapes and political processes affect public opinion and policy outcomes. They're in the beginning stages, but have some preliminary findings which they've posted on their blog. It should be a very interesting study, and I plan on following it to see the results (I'm on their email list, so I'll post updates as I get them). I also hope to participate in the project somehow, but I'm not sure where I can fit quite yet.
The second is called Mapping Controversies in Science and Techonology for Politics (MACOSPOL). It's lead by my theorist du jour Bruno Latour. The purpose is to make scientific inquiry more democratic, more open, and more participatory by developing a platform that will help depict and analyze science controversies. Visit the website, watch the video of Latour (below), look at some of the projects, follow some links - this too should be very interesting.
I put these two projects together because I think there is some overlap (in fact, COMPON recently had a meeting in Paris at the Science Po, where Latour is a Research Director, but they did not get in touch). MACOSPOL is more wide reaching than just climate change, but the two share some methodological similarities and a general interest in integrating science and Democracy. Dr. Broadbent informed me that he has reached out to connect with the MACOSPOL project, and I hope good things will come of that relationship.