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The evolution of local participation and the mode of knowledge production in Arctic research

Nicolas D. Brunet, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University
Gordon M. Hickey, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University
Murray M. Humphries, Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment, McGill University


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Arctic science is often claimed to have been transformed by the increased involvement of local people, but these claims of a new research paradigm have not been empirically evaluated. We argue that the "new" participatory research paradigm emerging in Arctic science embodies many of the principles of the Mode 2 knowledge production framework. Using the Mode 2 thesis as an assessment framework, we examined research articles appearing between 1965 and 2010 in the journal Arctic to assess the extent to which there has been a paradigm shift toward more participatory approaches. Results suggest that the involvement of local people has increased only slightly over the last half century and continues to vary systematically among disciplines, organizations, and regions. Analysis of three additional journals focused on Arctic and circumpolar science establishes the generality of these slight increases in local involvement. There is clearly room for more community involvement in Arctic science, but achieving this will require either increasing the proportional representation of the organizations, disciplines, and regions with a track record of successful Mode 2 research, or encouraging Mode 2 research innovation within the organizations, disciplines, and regions currently predominated by Mode 1 approaches.

Key words

civic science; community participation; environmental change; Mode 2; research policy; traditional knowledge

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087