Assessing the professionalisation of marine citizen science

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By increasing monitoring efforts and empowering members of the public to take political action to protect the oceans, citizen science is a potentially transformative practice. However, the impact of government agencies shifting from end-users of citizen science data to co-producers of initiatives raises questions about the transformative capacity of citizen science. Drawing on a survey of citizen science volunteers and interviews with practitioners and government actors, this chapter illustrates how the professionalisation of citizen science is narrowing the scope of what projects can achieve and how volunteers can challenge neoliberal marine governance. Although government support may appear to create partnerships between policy, non-governmental organisations and their volunteers, it may also limit the radical potential of citizen science knowledge production by turning projects and volunteers into both objects and subjects of government control. We argue that this control partly manifests itself within a professionalisation governmentality. This professionalisation reduces the capacity of citizen science projects to empower local knowledge and to transform marine management processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransdisciplinary marine research. Bridging science and society
EditorsSílvia Gómez, Vera Köpsel
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781003311171
ISBN (Print) 9781032317588
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2022


  • Co-production
  • Conservation
  • Participation
  • Planning
  • Power
  • Knowledge


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