Practicing Evidence – Evidencing Practice (DFG)

Evidence is continually growing in importance for political, societal, and individual decisions, despite increasing talk of an impending ‘post-factual era’. Evidence is based on data that is collected in a scientific fashion, but is also a social phenomenon. How and by whom is it created and used, and what impact does this have? These are the main questions that our Research Group has set out to investigate. Since evidence is an issue that concern many different scientific disciplines, our group is interdisciplinary in outlook. Our six sub-projects include scholars from the subject areas History of Technology, Sociology of Science/STS, History and Ethics of Medicine, Marketing and Consumer Research, as well as History of Science and Technology.

  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. Karin Zachmann
  • Coordinator: Dr. Sarah Ehlers

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Subproject 3: „How safe is safe enough?“ – Practices of Evidence for Technical Safety in Times of Societal Uncertainty

01.04.2017 – 31.03.2020

The project aims to analyze practices of evidence concerning technical safety in both German states between the 1950s and the 1980s, using two specific technological fields – automobiles and nuclear power – as case studies. As key technologies of the atomic and the consumer age, both fields have had a substantial part in transforming the idea of safety/security into a societal core value. Making use of the chiasmus “practicing evidence – evidencing practice”, we study discourses as well as concrete practices of technical safety as an increasingly important precondition for the societal acceptance of technology.

  • Prof. Dr. Karin Zachmann
  • Dr. Stefan Esselborn

subprojekt 6: Evidence in Citizen Science – Between Non-Certified Expertise, Professional Supervision and Mechanization

05.2017 – 04.2020

For a long time, the participation of laypersons in research was regarded as hardly compatible with the self-image of modern science. However, this is beginning to change. A socio-epistemic arrangement based on the participation of laypersons in the research process is currently establishing itself under the banner of Citizen Science. This leads to the emergence of new functional relationships in which knowledge is co-produced, new forms of worksharing are evolving and established role models become disputable. Digitisation is regarded as the technological driver of current Citizen Science. Citizen Science is associated with science policy expectations of a democratization of science and a participatory coping with social challenges.

The question is how evidence practices function in Citizen Science – in view of the participation of actors who do not belong to certified scientific professional communities. (How) can knowledge be regarded as credible and action-oriented even if the social circle of those involved in research transcends the professional scientific context?

  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Maasen
  • Prof. Dr. Sascha Dickel (Uni Mainz)
  • Dr. Andreas Wenninger

DFG Forschergruppe 2448 “Evidenzpraktiken”

Project leader(s):
Prof. Dr. Karin Zachmann

2017 – 2020

Project type:
["Verbundprojekt \/ Consortium Project"]

Funding institution: