Work on the public engagement in policymaking can include studies of the engagement of the lay public (as in consensus conferences and consultative exercises) and studies of "mobilized publics" (such as social movement and public-interest organizations). I have worked especially on the latter topic with respect to science, industry, and policy.
With respect to industry, I have developed work on how social movements have played a generative role in industrial change, both through the development of new technologies and products and through industrial opposition movements. These ideas are most developed in my book:Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry: Activism, Innovation, and the Environment in an Era of Globalization (MIT Press). Alternative industrial movements include technology- and product-oriented movements such as the organic food movement) and certification movements (see my Science as Culture essay, 2010). They tend to undergo an incorporation and transformation process. Industrial opposition movements call for the moratorium on a particular product, often based on the precautionary politics, and end with design changes from the existing regime and sometimes a partial moratorium.
I also work on the relationship between the civil society and scientific fields. I study the process of "epistemic modernization," or the opening up of the scientific field to research questions and methods developed from historically excluded groups and social movements. Part of this research involves the concept "undone science," or the areas of science that civil society organizations determine to be systematically underfunded but of potentially broad benefit. I have also developed the analysis of "civil society research," or attempts to remedy undone science via research by, for example, environmental organizations (Sociological Quarterly); "scientific counterpublics," or linkages among researchers and civil society organizations that occupy subordinate positions in their fields (Public Understanding of Science); and the interactions of local and localist knowledge (Anthropological Quarterly).
See also my page on science, technology, and health.
2013 "Wireless Smart Meters and Public Acceptance: The Environment, Limited Choices, and Precautionary Politics." Coauthored with Jonathan S. Coley. Forthcoming in Public Understanding of Science. This paper examines the social movement in California that has opposed wireless smart meters, and it develops general hypotheses about the conditions under which precautionary politics are more or less successful. Final draft here.
2012 “Nanotechnology and the Environment.” By Anna Lamprou and David Hess. In Donald Mclaurcan, ed., Nanotechnology and Global Sustainability. CRC Press. This paper connects the debate in environmental sociology between treadmill of production and ecological modernization perspectives with policy strategies, thus shifting the debate toward its policy implications. Anna has gone on to study nanotechnology policy in the EU and US. Final draft of the paper here.
2012 "Beyond Scientific Consensus: Scientific Counterpublics, Countervailing Industries, and Competing Research Agendas." Paper here. The papers for this conference have now been accepted for an edited volume published by Routledge.
2012 Review, Fligstein and McAdam, A Theory of Fields. Mobilizing Ideas, June 13. Paper here.
2011 "To Tell the Truth: On Scientific Counterpublics." Public Understanding of Science. 20(5): 627-641. Final draft here.
2010. "Social Movements, Publics, and Scientists." Invited Plenary Lecture, Japanese Society for Science and Technology Studies. Article here.
2010. "Undone Science: Social Movement Challenges to Dominant Scientific Practice." By Scott Frickel, Sahra Gibbon, Jeff Howard, Joana Kempner, Gwen Ottinger, and David Hess. Science, Technology, and Human Values 35(4): 444-473. Article here.
2010 "A Political Economy of Sustainability: Alternative Pathways and Industrial Innovation." In Steven Moore (ed.), Pragmatic Sustainability: Theoretical and Practical Tools. Routledge. Article here.
2010. " Environmental Reform Organizations and Undone Science in the United States: Exploring the Environmental, Healhth, and Safety Implications of Nanotechnology.” Science as Culture 19(2): 181-214. Final draft here.
2009 "The Potentials and Limitations of Civil Society Research: Getting Undone Science Done." Sociological Inquiry 79(3): 306-327. Article here.
2008 "Science, Technology, and Social Movements," coauthored with Steve Breyman, Nancy Campbell, and Brian Martin, in the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (MIT Press). Edited by Edward Hackett, Olga Amsterdamska, Michael Lynch, and Judy Wacjman. MIT Press. Pp. 473-498. Abstract here.
2007 "Crosscurrents: Social Movements and the Anthropology of Science and Technology." American Anthropologist 109(3). Article here. Winner of the General Anthropology Division Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship.
2007 "What is a Clean Bus? Object Conflicts in the Greening of Urban Transit." Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy 3(1): 45- 58. Link to original paper here.
2006 "Backfire, Repression, and the Theory of Transformative Events," coauthored with Brian Martin. Mobilization 11(2): 249-267. Article here.
2005 "Technology- and Product-Oriented Movements: Approximating Social Movement Studies and STS." Science, Technology, and Human Values 30(4): 515-535. Article here.
2004 Editor of special issue of Science as Culture on "Health, the Environment, and Social Movements," published in December 2004 (13/4). Includes "Object Conflicts in a Health-Environmental Social Movement: The Movement for Organic Food and Agriculture in the U.S." Article here.
2004 Organized a conference on Science, Technology, and the Environment . Details here.
2002 "Science Studies and Activism: Possibilities and Problems for Reconstructivist Agendas," by E.J. Woodhouse, David Hess, Steve Breyman, and Brian Martin. Social Studies of Science 32/2: 297-319. Abstract. Article.
2001 Alternative Pathways in Globalization, Vol. 1. This was an electronic preprint of the first section of what became Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry.