Writing a book is like a journey that starts long before you know you are on the way and where there is no predetermined destination. As this dissertation is starting to become a book with words on pages, I have come to appreciate a number of circumstances that have contributed to making it possible. The recurring theme is the opportunity to think about the role of science in society.
The starting point was no doubt growing up in a family in which science was part of every-day conversations, even if my own interests brought me more towards writing about science than to its practice. My education as a science writer in the late 1970s coincided in time with the emergence of gene technology and highly contentious debates about the societal implications of scientific developments. In my undergraduate coursework at the University of Kansas, I was lucky enough to not only encounter the microbiologists' perspectives on these issues but also views from thinkers who discussed biology in the context of science for the people. I was, thereby, exposed to perspectives on science as something more and often different from objective descriptions of nature. It was also during these years that I became engaged in the women's movement. The connection between science and feminism became an entry point to an inspirational journey together with women friends towards defining a feminist perspective on biology. It was in these informal discussions that I had my basic training in the philosophy of science. In the mid-1980s, this was far from mainstream academic thinking. It was therefore a delightful surprise for me to see that some of the same authors and further development of ideas about science and society had become integrated into graduate education at the Tema Institute at Linkoping University when I decided to return to school 20 years later.
During the mid-1980s, global environmental issues were becoming an increasing part of my professional life as a science writer. Images of the ozone hole caught mine and many others attention, as did the emerging discussion of climate change. The deba-ates on gene technology also included environmental dimensions. In my work as a radio producer, I was fortunate enough to be able to follow how these debates became both global and explicitly political, not least in connection with the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Critiques of western science from Third World thinkers brought me many new perspectives and reinforced my interests in the politics of science. Even environmental science was no longer necessarily benign. There were ethical and political issues to consider. They had to be analyzed with tools other than those I had available from my undergraduate training in biology and journalism. My most important introduction to the world of social science came from the Swedish Human Dimensions Committee. The discussions that this committee invited me into became a first step in returning to academia. Here was a field of study with questions that linked my interest in environmental sciences and society.
Approximately parallel in time, I started to work with Arctic issues with an assignment to write a popular science version of a scientific assessment of pollution. My focus was on translating the natural science jargon to make it accessible to political decision makers but in doing so I was also in the midst of the science-politics interface. An epi sode during this work sparked by curiosity about how political cooperation affects knowledge production. It was a meeting in Ilulissat, Greenland, where scientists from different disciplines started talking to each other, finding connections between their different lines of work, and raising new questions that neither group had asked before. The exercise was supposed to be an assessment of available knowledge but what I witnessed was the creation of something new.
In 2002, my different seeds of thought about the science-politics interface came together in an idea to pursue a PhD. With my lack of formal education in the social sciences, it was not self-evident where I could apply. Luckily enough, there are interdisciplinary environments available and I was fortunate to be admitted to the Department of Water and Environmental Studies in Linköping. This environment has shaped the translation of my vague ideas and interests into this dissertation about the role of science and policy in framing Arctic climate change. Together with the other parts of the Tema Institute, it provided the theoretical and methodological perspectives that made this a different exercise than my previous journalistic work. Of great value was also the development of the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research. It provided me with colleagues to discuss the climate science-policy interface, in particular, including connections to both the natural and social science aspects. I want to thank all my colleagues in these environments - teachers, fellow graduate students, and support personnel - for inspiration and support during this research project. Your work has provided an invaluable interdisciplinary context and your comments during seminars and discussions of draft text have many times forced me to rethink or clarify my own arguments. For that and for your friendship, I am graciously thankful. In particular I want to thank my advisor Björn-Ola Linner, who took on the role as a sparring partner and critical reader from the beginning of the research process all the way through, and also my co-advisor Sofie Storbjörk for her patient reading and her useful comments to draft versions of the dissertation. I also want to thank Johan Hedren for challenging comments at numerous seminars including the initial definition of my project. Widening the circle outside the department, I also owe thanks to Henrik Selin for pointing me to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment as a possible case study and suggesting useful analytical tools, to Karin Bäckstrand for providing invaluable input to this dissertation at my final seminar, and to Natasha Webster for help with language editing.
There are also some other circles of colleagues that helped me along in this work. They include everyone who worked on the Arctic Human Development Report, who provided me with many valuable entry points to social science perspectives on the Arctic and who helped widen my Arctic networks. I also want to thank Stockholm Environment Institute for welcoming me to work there for a few months last fall. This was a very inspiring environment that put my project into a larger perspective and brought me new friends and colleagues. A different social context but equally important for my research has been the cooperation and interest from many people in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment who took time to provide me with invaluable empirical material for my study. Without your contribution, this dissertation would not be.
A prerequisite for research is funding. My work has been financed mostly by Linköping University but with additional funds from the Swedish Journalist Fund for Further Training, the Swedish Research Council for the Environment, Agricultural Sci ence and Spatial Planning (Formas), and Mistra's Climate Policy Research Program (Clipore).
Finally, none of this dissertation work would have been possible without the support at home. Thank you Cindy, for all your patience, and Dane, for reminding me that sometimes it is more important to play.
Several years ago, a friend and colleague told me to remember to budget time for thinking. I have been very fortunate to be able to take time off in mid-life to pause and reflect on the science-politics interface in which I have been working professionally. The future will tell where it will lead me.
April 2007 in Huddinge Annika Nilsson
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