approach—interacting with policy and civil society—turned the research project into a boundary object for the discussion processes on Basel’s food system. The Research Project as a Boundary Object Figure 1 schematically presents the role that the research
Food System Analysis Based on Interaction Between Research, Policy, and Society
Heidrun Moschitz, Jan Landert, Christian Schader, and Rebekka Frick
Tomas Max Martin
Ugandan prison staff both criticize and welcome human rights as a reform agenda that brings about insecurity as well as tangible improvements. In practice, human rights discourse is malleable enough for prison officers to cobble together a take on human rights that enables them to embrace the concept. The analysis of the emic notion of “reasonable caning” illustrates this malleability as staff concurrently take stands against inhumane violence and continue to legitimize caning while aligning with human rights. Human rights are locally negotiated, and it is argued that human rights reform cannot simply be analyzed as a submissive or opposing reaction to the top-down export of powerful global discourses. The embrace of human rights that unfolds in Ugandan prisons is rather a productive and multifaceted effort by prison officers to get purchase on legal technologies and reconceptualizations of prison management practices that affect their lives.
relations. This approach developed in the history of science literature as a way to examine how scientists develop standardized forms to communicate across disciplines and divisions of labor. Boundary objects (such as Linnaean species designations and lab
Steps toward a Conceptual History of Systems Theory, 1880–1980
This article proposes to analyze the idea of organism and other closely related ideas (function, differentiation, etc.) using a combination of semantic fields analysis from conceptual history and the notion of boundary objects from the sociology of scientific knowledge. By tackling a wide range of source material, the article charts the nomadic existence of organism and opens up new vistas for an integrated history of the natural and human sciences. First, the boundaries are less clear-cut between disciplines like biology and sociology than previously believed. Second, a long and transdisciplinary tradition of talking about organismic and societal systems in highly functionalist terms comes into view. Third, the approach shows that conceptions of a world society in Niklas Luhmann's variant are not semantic innovations of the late twentieth century. Rather, their history can be traced back to organicist sociology and its forgotten pioneers, especially Albert Schäffle or Guillaume de Greef, during the last decades of the nineteenth century.
Karin M. Gustafsson and Rolf Lidskog
For many countries, the IUCN Red List of threatened species is a central instrument in their work to counteract loss of biodiversity. This article analyzes the development of the Red List categories and criteria, how these categories and criteria are used in the construction of global, national, and regional red lists, and how the red lists are employed in policy work. A central finding of the article is that this mix of actors implies many different forms of boundary work. This article also finds that the Red List functions as a portable representation, that is, a context-independent instrument to represent nature. A third finding is that the Red List functions as a link between experts and policy makers. Thus, the Red List is best understood as a boundary object and hybrid practice where the credibility of scientific assessment and a specific policy is mutually strengthened.
Léa Sébastien, Tom Bauler, and Markku Lehtonen
This article examines the various roles that indicators, as boundary objects, can play as a science-based evidence for policy processes. It presents two case studies from the EU-funded POINT project that analyzed the use and influence of two highly different types of indicators: composite indicators of sustainable development at the EU level and energy indicators in the UK. In both cases indicators failed as direct input to policy making, yet they generated various types of conceptual and political use and influence. The composite sustainable development indicators served as “framework indicators”, helping to advocate a specific vision of sustainable development, whereas the energy indicators produced various types of indirect influence, including through the process of indicator elaboration. Our case studies demonstrate the relatively limited importance of the characteristics and quality of indicators in determining the role of indicators, as compared with the crucial importance of “user factors” (characteristics of policy actors) and “policy factors” (policy context).
People and Plants
Kay E. Lewis-Jones
able to hold and through their own particular place-making dynamics. Exploring the role of boundary objects in anthropological theory, Sheridan demonstrates how plants as boundary objects “do things” and “sit firmly at the intersection of the material
On the Usefulness of Boundary Re-work
Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907–39 ’, Social Studies of Science 19 : 387 – 420 . 10.1177/030631289019003001 Strathern , M. ( 2004 ), Commons and Borderlands ( Wantage : Sean Kingston
finds, actual metrics for ES are diffuse, often incommensurable, and widely contested within the scientific community. As a result, ES ideas function more like a “boundary object” ( Star and Griesemer 1989 ), which are defined as “objects which are both
Adopting a Social Practice Perspective in Social-Ecological Research
Lukas Sattlegger, Immanuel Stieß, Luca Raschewski, and Katharina Reindl
and the organization of social life. The concept of material arrangements can be a boundary object that is simultaneously part of social life and natural processes, allowing the connection of everyday practices to physical preconditions and impacts