This paper investigates how participatory knowledge production may contribute to more democratic sustainability governance. It develops an analytical framework in order to perform a systematic analysis of the GammaSense project in the Netherlands, on the measurement of gamma radiation by citizens. The paper first of all concludes that the way in which participation takes place throughout each and every stage of the knowledge production process, including technically complex issues such as the design of the measurement system and analytical toolset, has consequences for (a) which aspects of the gamma radiation decision-making process can potentially be democratized; (b) who gains a voice on the issue; (c) which form of democratization process is potentially facilitated. Secondly, the democratizing effects of setting the purpose of knowledge production, defining the research object and developing the methodological toolset are closely intertwined. Finally, providing space for multiple epistemologies and being attentive towards the role of material objects-the issue at hand and the methodological devices-are of crucial importance to realize the democratizing ambitions that the GammaSense project aimed to contribute towards.
- Democratic sustainability governance
- Gamma radiation
- Inclusive risk governance
- Nuclear energy
- Participatory knowledge production