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Where Now for Post-Normal Science?: A Critical Review of its Development, Definitions, and Uses
John Turnpenny, Mavis Jones and Irene Lorenzoni Science Technology Human Values 2011 36: 287 originally published online 7 December 2010 DOI: 10.1177/0162243910385789 The online version of this article can be found at: http://sth.sagepub.com/content/36/3/287

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Science, Technology, & Human Values 36(3) 287-306 The Author(s) 2011 Reprints and permission: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0162243910385789 http://sthv.sagepub.com

Where Now for Post-Normal Science?: A Critical Review of its Development, Definitions, and Uses

John Turnpenny1, Mavis Jones2, and Irene Lorenzoni1

Abstract Post-normal science (PNS) has received much attention in recent years, but like many iconic concepts, it has attracted differing conceptualizations, applications, and implications, ranging from being a cure-all for democratic deficit to the key to achieving more sustainable futures. This editorial article introduces a Special Issue that takes stock of research on PNS and critically explores how such research may develop. Through reviewing the history and evolution of PNS, the authors seek to clarify the extant definitions, conceptualizations, and uses of PNS. The authors identify five broad areas of research on, or using, PNS which have developed over four decades. Their

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK 2 Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada Corresponding Author: John Turnpenny, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK Email: j.turnpenny@uea.ac.uk

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analysis suggests that the 1990s represent a symbolic watershed in the use of PNS terminology, when the concept was further developed and applied to highly complicated issues such as climate change. The authors particularly distinguish between uses of PNS as a normative prescription and as a practical method. Through this classification, they set out gaps and research questions arising. They then briefly summarize the Special Issue articles and consider their relationship to each other and the research questions raised by their analysis. They conclude by considering what the articles in this issue suggest for future theory building in PNS and related scholarship. Keywords post-normal science, decision-making, participatory processes, theory, risk

Introduction
Post-normal science (PNS) is a term in good currency in research on the scientific, social, and political management of risk. Its profile in the wider world is growing, referred to by sources as diverse as the World Bank (Mathur, Burton, and van Aalst 2004, 45), an environmental scientist writing in the popular press (Hulme 2007), and the right-wing tabloid columnist Melanie Phillips.1 This Special Issue arose following a panel session at 4S/EASST conference in August 2008, which examined the concept of PNS, its origins (where it has come from), its development into various forms, its uses (what types of research have been carried out on and with the concept), the relationships between the role and use of science and PNS in/by policy making, and potential future directions for research on PNS. We were pleasantly surprised by the interest generated by this session and felt it indicated there was an eagerness among the academic community for further discussion on PNS. Pertinent comments in the session noted that the high profile of PNS has led to much derivative use of the term by researchers and policy makers, as shorthand for a normative approach to the way that science ought to be carried out and used. Additionally, it was reiterated that there is much literature relevant to the concepts that PNS addresses, in the fields of science and technology studies (STS), public policy analysis, political science, and evidence-based policy making. However, limited cross-disciplinary working results in confusion in terminology, methodology, theory, and normative prescription. The articles in this issue explore both theoretical and empirical aspects of PNS and aim to build upon discussions within the STS community and beyond. This Editorial contribution seeks, through a brief review of the history and evolution of PNS, to clarify the extant definitions,

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conceptualizations, and uses of PNS. We do this through identifying five broad types of research on, or using, PNS which have developed over the past four decades. The main focus of the editorial is to assess the evolution and current status of PNS and thus draw upon the critiques of PNS, which we briefly describe, to illustrate the fields different research foci (Typology of PNS-Related Research). This classification of what we call PNS-related research necessarily simplifies a large and growing literature; we posit that it reviews the situation in enough detail to identify the main research gaps and questions in PNS use and research (Where now for PNS?). We illustrate these gaps with reference to a brief synopsis of the Special Issue articles, examining how they relate to each other and how they address the research questions raised by our analysis. Finally, we reflect upon what the articles in this issue suggest for future theory building in PNS and related scholarship.

Typology of PNS-Related Research As a Response to Kuhn


In 1962, Thomas Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn 1962/1970) in which he introduced the concept of normal science. According to Kuhn, normal science is research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice (Kuhn 1962/1970, 10). This tradition-bound approach sees science as a process, consisting of debates about the rules of science. Through this process, scientific knowledge periodically undergoes socially constructed paradigm shifts. When the accepted paradigmthe beliefs, theories, and methodologiesof normal science cannot resolve issues without conflict, it leads to revolutionary science and a period in which existing rules are questioned and replaced by a new paradigm capable of resolving some of the emerging contradictions. In Kuhns words, scientific revolutions are the tradition-shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of normal science (Kuhn 1962/1970, 6). Early works by Ravetz (e.g., 1971a) critiqued Kuhns views on such revolutionary paradigm changes (see also Fuller 2000, 73), maintaining that science in practice was an essentially myopic and anti-critical activity (Ravetz 1986, 419), referring to the (mis)use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, the menaces of acid rain, toxic wastes, and the greenhouse effect. Alongside the professionalization of science, characterized by

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greater short-lived specializations, divisions of labor in research, and superficiality of learning, Ravetz (1971a) also denounced the industrialization of science, underpinned by battles for budgets and grants, where the quality of academic writing was subservient to attainment of funding and personal promotion, which Ravetz (1971a; see also Diesing 1982, 247) termed shoddy science. Ravetz argued that these applications and perspectives ultimately lead to a science in which knowledge is used in an atomic way (Ravetz 1986, 419), incapable of understanding the bigger picture in planning for the future, and therefore to an obsolete science (see also Diesing 1982). Ravetz, in association with comrades in the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science, called for the deindustrialization of science, driven by the pronunciation that normal science (i.e., science as a selfdetermining form of enquiry, Fuller 2000, 75) had come to an end and had been replaced by a science driven by militaristic and industrial interests. In other words, at the end of the 1960s, the idea of science as a social investment increasingly came under scrutiny, following concerns and observations of its negative impacts, both environmentally and socially (Ravetz also vehemently denounced these aspects in his 1971b essay). Although this scrutiny did not call into question governments reliance on and faith in science, it did focus attention on assessments of the impacts of science and increase concern among a stream of scientists and social scientists interested in social responsibility. Weariness that science was being misdirected, becoming a servant of governments and other interests, led to calls for the development of a critical science (Ravetz 1971a, quoted in Henkel 2004, 780).

Developing a Method for Extending Traditional Science


By the mid-1980s, interest was growing in major environmental and social issues such as acid rain, ozone depletion, and climate change, characterized by complexity, uncertainty, and potentially severe risks for both humanity and ecosystems if not addressed imminently. The traditional model of reliance on communicating the findings of scientific enquiry (in a linear fashion) to receptive policy makers was seen as inadequate for addressing cases/ issues where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent (Ravetz 1986, 422). Funtowicz and Ravetz (1991) posited that a Second Order Science, which they termed post-normal science (PNS), was needed to address this shortfall. PNS, as a methodology of inquiry, is based on the principle that new methods must be developed to make our ignorance usable (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1991, 141), which

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Decision stakes High

Postnormal science Professional consultancy Applied science Low High

Low

Systems uncertaines

Figure 1. Modes of inquiry for different levels of uncertainty and decision stakes (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1991, 145).

include ethical and social considerations to assist with management of uncertainty for the common good. Funtowicz and Ravetz (1991), based on earlier work by Funtowicz and Ravetz (1985) and Ravetz (1986), distinguish issue characteristics according to two dimensions: systems uncertainties (i.e., the complexities of the system under consideration, including technical, scientific, and managerial aspects and the ranges of possible outcomes) and decision stakes (potential costs and benefits to concerned parties). Representing these dimensions as orthogonal axes on a diagram (see Figure 1), one may delineate three ways of examining such issues and considering potential options and strategies for addressing them. This diagram, probably the iconic representation of PNS, shows that by effectively delineating a rating system for the tractability of different issues, different paradigms and methods can be called upon in addressing these. Rosa, for example, sees this diagram mapping onto the spectrum of knowledge claims from grounded realism (applied science), synthetic realism (professional consultancy), and social construction (PNS) (Rosa, 1998), translating an abstract argument into a practical research typology. When issues are characterized as high on both dimensions, uncertainty over what to do is high as there are no precedents for management and no accepted methods or technologies. The problem is total in its extent, involving facts, interests, values and even lifestyles . . . (Ravetz 1986, 425).

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However, Rosa (1998) argues that even in this situation, solutions can be generated through creating conceptual structures and political institutions where creative dialogue is developed. In these cases, traditional experts should be flanked by, and interact with, an extended peer community (EPC) of those affected by or with special knowledge of the issue. Engaged through dialogue, the EPC contribute their extended facts (e.g., local knowledge, understanding, and unpublished materials). The EPC, by contributing important knowledge of local conditions that traditional experts may not have, is a vehicle for the transmission of skills and quality assurance of the results. While an EPC can lead to greater democratization in science, Funtowicz and Ravetz (1991) are very precise in stating that this should not be seen as an act of benevolence (and by implication, fulfilling symbolic functions like legitimation) by authorities or established groups toward those not previously participating in decision making. Rather, meeting the challenges of global environmental issues (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1991, 151) is paramount, which implies that EPCs should only be involved when they contribute to this aim. EPCs are intended to fulfill several functions, but there are two principal ones. First, they bring extended facts into the knowledge base used in decision making and second they act as a broadened peer review committee for that knowledge base: an extended quality control function (Ravetz 1999a). The discussion of quality, as opposed to truth, has been central to PNS. Luks (1999) even suggests that quality is a new organizing principle offered by PNS for the form of scientific knowledge applied to societal problems. Normal science emphasizes trust in the inviolability of its objective representation of facts about nature, whereas PNS emphasizes quality (i.e., in the completeness of information, assessed by a range of epistemological and ontological positions). The quality control function of the EPC does not necessarily operate according to conventional scientific criteria, which rely heavily on quantitative assessment (Healy 1999) and on falsifiability (OConnor 1999). Ravetz (1999a) sees the EPCs assessing the quality of policy proposals on the basis of their own knowledge, which includes cultural and moral perspectives (OConnor 1999); EPCs influence comes both through knowledge that traditional experts cannot possess and through the very process of participation itself and the moral force that brings.

As a Challenge for Scientists


Since the end of the 1990s, natural and social scientists more generally have discovered the concept of PNS and have started to make use of it in different ways.

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Fields as diverse as medicine (e.g., Laugharne and Laugharne 2002) and computing have recognized the importance of value-driven decisions in the face of risk and uncertainty and the potential for more participation in decision making. The headline issue representing the 1990s was genetically modified organisms (GMOs; Giampietro 1999; Waltner-Toews and Wall 1997), which constituted the battlefield for postnormality in that decade, just as climate change science did in the 2000s (e.g., Bray and von Storch 1999; Mentzel 1999; Saloranta 2001). PNS scholarship in the 1990s also referred to BSE (Ravetz 1999b), the Millennium bug (Ravetz 1999a), Brent Spar (Healy 1999), and Seveso (de Marchi and Ravetz 1999). The decade culminated in a special issue of the journal Futures (1999, vol. 31, no. 7), dealing with topics such as an overview of PNS (Ravetz 1999a); EPCs (Healy 1999), rhetoric (Luks 1999), risk governance (de Marchi and Ravetz 1999), and complexity (Kay et al. 1999). Work from this special issue and other articles published around the same time (e.g., Rosa 1998; Tacconi 1998; Bray and von Storch 1999; Giampietro 1999; Lister 1998) contributed to the further development of the concept. While exploratory studies often simply identify post-normal characteristics within their field, the explicit acknowledgment that values and lay knowledge are important (e.g., Etkin and Ho 2007 in the case of climate change; Enick and Moore 2007 in the case of environmental risk assessments; and Marshall and Picou 2008 in dealing with complex catastrophic problems more generally) has contributed to a development of research areas in a new direction. For instance, there have been a few in-depth attempts to develop and apply PNS within the context of traditional sciences. James J. Kay supported a group of like-minded scientists around the world (the Dirk Gently Gang), who met informally to develop a PNS challenging the conventional ways of researching nature (e.g., see Waltner-Toews et al. 2004). In particular, they set about developing guiding questions for the study of complex systems and a methodology for so doing, focusing on issues of uncertainty and surprise in nested self-organizing systems. There are clear crossovers with the central focus of PNS, namely, decision making in the face of complexity and high risk, although the group already viewed it within the context of natural sustainability. Through several case studies, they sought to develop the ecosystem approach as an example of a PNS, building upon the already developed concept. On a smaller scale, van de Kerkhof and Leroy (2000) posit a set of criteria for assessing the degree of post-normality of practices and use these to assess environmental research in the Netherlands. From a different angle, Lorenzoni, Jones, and Turnpenny (2007) observe

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how a PNS approach may be seen in the operation of boundary organizations that help stabilize the relationship between science and policy making. Jeroen van der Sluijs and others (e.g., van der Sluijs et al. 2005) have developed and applied the NUSAP concept originally proposed by Funtowicz and Ravetz (1990; described in the section As a Focus of Critique) as a way of understanding uncertainties in modeling of realworld cases such as assessing environmental health risks. A further key development was the explicit linkage between PNS and the discipline of ecological economics (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1991). As scholars in this field point out (Tacconi 1998; OConnor et al. 1996; OConnor 1999), issue-driven ecological economics represents a departure from conventional economics. To accommodate this inherent contextual awareness, ecological economics has recognized the importance of a range of knowledge sources, particularly on issues such as climate change. It has been suggested that the application of PNS to ecological economics has helped both the discipline itself and the development of PNS theory (Muller 2003).

As a Force for Social and Environmental Change


In light of ongoing debates about trust and legitimacy in governments and modes of governance, Jerry Ravetz and others are gradually developing PNS away from either a quality control of science by an extended peer community model or a simple classification of issues into requiring normal science or PNS. Indeed, Ravetz (2010) argues that low uncertainties, low stakes issues are now almost vanished; while PNS was first formulated to address inappropriate methodology in science, we did not anticipate that . . . research could be totally misdirected or corrupted by external imperatives (Ravetz 2010, 4). This recent direction of research sees PNS as strongly normative, with a clear social critique: Given its deep political commitments, PNS should have been . . . offering its insights about the way science will need to be done in the cause of justice and sustainability . . . the salient policy questions in which PNS are deployed are no longer those of technological risks, but those of sustainability and survival (Ravetz 2006, 277-8). In the light of this, a more self-critical discussion is developing of the potential role of PNS in making a social and environmental difference. PNS is seen as a space for presenting evidence and mutual learning, and carrying out what Ravetz (2006) terms negotiation in good faitha long way from science and a longer way from politics (Ravetz 2006, 278). PNS hence

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becomes one way to help understand the limits of models and conventional science (Ravetz 2010). This development is in its early stages but harks back to the original concept about the use and misuse of science. We argue that there is much research to be done in better understanding both how this approach may work in practice more generally, and the relationship between these aims and the messy world of politics more specifically. How can negotiation in good faith distance itself from politics, if indeed it can, or ought? This could build on the increased interest among the wider normative social scientific community in how PNS might interact with government and institutions in a different way than would normal science, and how it might achieve a better balance between environmental and social priorities with a view to channeling societies to a path of sustainable development. One particular avenue of exploration is through the participatory model of transdisciplinarity, which, like PNS, aims at enhancing participation to encourage learning for more sustainable development (e.g., Luks and Siebenhuener 2007) and requires a somewhat different model of carrying out sciencemore issue-driven than curiosity-driven (Viederman 1995). However, it is more than simply reimagining science itself; again, significant questions about the wider context require exploration. Craye (2006) makes the important point that reflexivity involves questioning of processes and institutions not just the science itself. This includes reflection on methods, assumptions, the effects of conflicting interests, and knowledgegathering processes. How this may progress is potentially a fruitful and rich area of future research.

As a Focus of Critique
While the areas of research above are broadly supportive of the PNS concept, there is a sizeable amount of research developed broadly within the past decade, which critiques its premise, concept, and practice, both from natural and social science perspectives. Perhaps, one of the most comprehensive attacks is that of Weingart (1997), who sees PNS theorizing as ahistorically neglecting earlier work and making what he calls the audacious claim that PNS represents an epistemological change (in scientific knowledge), not just an institutional change. Yearleys (2000) critique includes the argument that the axes in the iconic diagram (see Figure 1, above) are not necessarily easily agreed on or measured and are also not necessarily discrete: for example, it is difficult to decide on the level of the stakes without an understanding what sort of uncertainty there is. Yearley also

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criticizes the choice of axes and their relationship to PNS: issues such as space science with high uncertainty and low stakes, for example, are unlikely to require an extended peer community and hence would not fall into the PNS category. This leads to a wider questioning of the feasibility (and value) of trying to classify issues into requiring applied science or PNS (see also Carolan 2006). From the other end of the spectrum, there is evidence of skepticism among scientists and other conventional experts as to the value of what is referred to as anecdotal evidence more generally (e.g., Doern and Reed 2000; Petts and Brooks 2006; Turnpenny, Lorenzoni, and Jones 2009). Other critiques of the PNS include that of Tacconi (1998) who sees great promise in the concept but notes a gap in the literature regarding methodological detail. One methodological development responding to the desire for quality assessment was the NUSAP system designed by Funtowicz and Ravetz (1990). NUSAP provides a structured scheme for analyzing different uncertainties within knowledge about any given problem, using five different metrics: Numeral, Unit of measurement, Spread (a measure of precision), Assessment (the degree of accuracy), and Pedigree. This mixture of qualitative and quantitative, to express different aspects of uncertainty, is notable for its inclusion of Pedigree: the degree of ignorance in the EPC concerning highly uncertain information. While noting the value of the NUSAP criteria, Tacconi feels that this does not go far enough in providing methodological guidance, for example, in implementing quality assurance programs, such as engaging wider public debate, enrolling the extended peer community, and incorporating investigative journalism and related techniques. Drawing on Guba (1990), Tacconi distinguishes between characteristics of a normal science (positivist) research paradigm compared to a PNS (constructivist) one. PNS could hence be complemented (or supplemented?) by a constructivist research paradigm, which would allow the researcher to guide research design and assess the extended facts encountered. A sizeable literature relates concepts found in PNS to other areas of social science, particularly the importance of accounting for the complex, messy, and recursive relationship between evidence and decision making, and insights from the evidence-based policy literature that better evidence does not necessarily lead to better decisions, or even different decisions (e.g., Turnpenny, Lorenzoni, and Jones 2009). Without institutional structures in place to assist PNS-type approaches, such literature argues, it will be very difficult to undertake PNS since existing rules and norms will be driving the process. Kirk, Reeves, and Blackstock (2007), for example,

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show that the disciplinary commitments of those working in a regulatory body mean that only a few regulatory options can be considered in any given situation. This stands in contrast to PNS aspiration to open dialogue. This concern over the role of institutions in science practice reflects wider debates about the importance of institutions in democratizing science (e.g., see Levidow and Marris 2001). The importance of power (e.g., Juntti, Russel, and Turnpenny 2009) is crucial in understanding who participates in an extended peer community and how (see Yearley 2000) and it could be implicitly assumed that the workings of an extended peer community will result in (1) better policy and (2) more fair and sustainable outcomes. Yearley (2000) argues that the public appears to be much more interested in distribution, power, and fairness than quality assurance of science. PNS has suffered some criticism regarding, for example, its vulnerability to misuse in forwarding a particular pressure groups agenda. A related criticism has been that, were PNS to be applied in practice, it would be captured by prevailing worldviews and practices, such as the drive for more transparent and participatory decision making (Turnpenny, Lorenzoni, and Jones 2009), and the implied amalgamation of participation with transparency (e.g., electronic publication of documents) in government circles (van den Hove and Sharman 2006). While this is not a criticism of PNS itself, it is an important area for further research and of vital interest to the PNS community (Liberatore and Funtowicz 2003). Indeed, Funtowicz (2006) explicitly restates that the Extended Peer Community is a dialogue, in contrast to stakeholder-led problem framingthat is, the EPC is more than just inviting the usual suspects to comment on policy proposals, but it is explicitly about enhancing quality control rather than extending democracy (Yearley 2000).

Where now for PNS?


From the five types of PNS-related research we identify above, it can be seen that over the last four decades or so, the ideas of PNS have evolved from a critique of Kuhn to more rarefied analyses of methods, of challenges to scientific practice, and of supporting broader social and environmental transformation. From our review, we suggest that particularly pertinent and fruitful areas for future research fall into three principal categories: theory, methodology, and application. While there is overlap between each, we suggest that each category will appeal to scholars from different disciplinary traditions; one of the challenges will be to synthesize research across the three.

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Theory research questions include critical examination of the aims of PNS, the role it performs or is perceived to perform, and how current conceptualizations of PNS relate to the original concept. Is PNS still aiming to deindustrialize and redirect science, for example? Another group of questions relate to the place of PNS theory within wider theoretical literature, such as critically examining its relationship to a constructivist paradigm, and to a relativist ontology, as well as exploring its synergies with other theoretical and disciplinary strands. Methodology research questions focus on techniques that might be used in applying the concept. What techniques are used in current application of elements of PNS (whether explicitly acknowledged as such or not)? How might these techniques be improved? How do elements of PNS relate to other methods and techniques in the literature, such as transition management, Mode 2 science and sustainability science, deliberative and participatory practices, both conceptually and practically in terms of technique use? Wider questions about application of PNS include building links with literatures on evidence in decision making more generally and critically examining how PNS fits with these. For example, how might PNS aims at changing institutions and processes be realizedif indeed they can or ought to be? What is the relationship between concepts like PNS and their potential application and wider agenda such as better regulation, transparency, and participation in government decisions? Who has actually used elements of PNS in practice? How and why did they apply it and with what degree of success? Emerging from these questions will be increased focus on which issues may be best dealt with by PNS and why; how applicable is it as an approach to a wide range of problems? The four articles in this Special Issue contribute to all of these research categories. Each can be classified as emerging from a different type of PNS research and each has its own take on the subject. There are also disagreements between the articles, setting the scene for a rich and developing debate. Petersen et al. examine the application of PNS-like activity in the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). The real-world issues encountered when trying to apply a PNS-type approach yield valuable lessons for future development of the concept. PNS is often portrayed as a proactive activity resulting from enlightened vision, but this is not always the case; a PNS-type approach was effectively forced upon PBL following a public crisis of confidence in the institution and the way science was carried out. The authors discuss how the new approach adopted by the PBL illuminated important issues such as selection of participants in

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knowledge creation, different perspectives within the agency, external (including funder) expectations of what science should be, and subsequent use of knowledge in decision making. The experience of PBL suggests that PNS allows for a more nuanced representation of how science works in practice than does the linear model of normal science. Some of the confusion about sciences role results from misunderstandings based on expectations of a normal science model; adopting a more PNS-like approach can help challenge those misunderstandings. Farrell introduces PNS as a response to a crisis in the governance of science and argues that PNS describes not only projects but also empirically observed situations where scientific and societal elements co-address complex problems. Rather than seeing PNS as a primarily normative concept of how to improve scientific practice, Farrell emphasizes its phenomenological character and proposes using PNS as a heuristic to better understand how science and society already collaborate to address (or to fail to address) complex late-industrial problems. Examining the cases of environmental pollution in Bitterfeld and eviction of pastoralists in Tanzania, Farrell shows that in dealing with so-called wicked problems, scientific advice cannot be neutral or dispassionate. Observing the extent of PNS-like responses to observed wickedness, and the perceived lack of adequacy of extant tools, clearly reveals that science alone cannot deal with wicked problems (cf. Kastenhofer this issue) and indeed is not doing so. There are similarities with the approach of Petersen et al. (this issue) in that PNS is not assumed to be restricted only to normative projects but may also be emergentthat is, although not explicitly planned, elements of it are happening. When used as a heuristic, PNS functions as a framework for assessing to what extent different perspectives that might be marginalized are actually included in these complex decision-making processes and how these approaches are conceptualized, used, and justified. Kastenhofer explores challenges to PNS and lessons that may be drawn through studying two cases (agri-biotechnology and mobile communication technology in Germany) in which the risks and safety of emerging technologies are assessed. Examining PNS in the light of the literature on risk, the article sets out the challenges of risk research and potential ways to build on, rather than attempt to remove, uncertainty and unknowns. The authors analyses indicate that the quest for truth led to stalemate in both cases and show that getting the science rightpost-normal or notcan be less important than the governance arrangements in addressing a difficult problem. This aspect is often overlooked by scientists and decision makers alike, who prefer to focus on the less politically charged aspects of particular

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issues. Chiming with the findings of Petersen et al., Kastenhofer argues that changing the mental model of what science does, and how politicized science is, are major challenges. Kastenhofers article, in showing the similarities and differences between risk research and PNS, also emphasizes the importance of enriching the PNS concept by continuing to make links between PNS and other areas of literature. Finally, Wesselink and Hoppe present a somewhat more critical take on PNS, arguing that while politics shapes most aspects of problem solving in the real world, the political is not adequately reflected in developments of PNS by Funtowicz and Ravetz. For example, establishing an extended peer community is not a value-free exercise; the choice of who participates and how in decision making is highly contentious itself. And simply increasing the number of participants in a decision also does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. However, Wesselink and Hoppe argue that PNS contains similar elements to other policy analysis literature that does explicitly account for the political element in decision making. Their article relates PNS to some of this literature to explain, from different angles, the resistance encountered when PNS-type approaches are attempted. It explores how high-level institutional change is an important (and in PNS, they argue, neglected) part of agenda setting. It also explains that attempting PNS alone will have little impact on decision making. Their article sets out different types of problems, and associated mechanisms for addressing them, and explores the similarities with PNS aims in redefining those problems. Wesselink and Hoppe also explore PNS as a way of managing the boundaries between science and politics, analyzing in some detail how such boundaries are constructed, and suggesting specific circumstances under which PNS might be implementable. Common messages flow from these four contributions and from our review in this editorial. PNS is a multifaceted concept. Trying to pin PNS down precisely is a near-impossible task, since it can be and is interpreted in so many different ways. It was never intended as a watertight theory of how to do science or as a panacea for how to solve complex problems. Different elements of PNS are applied in a variety of ways by different people and disciplines, and possibly in this flexibility lies its strength. First, PNS can be a focus for people with a common ontologya place for like-minded people to congregate and apply their perspectives to their own areas of work. The early origins of PNS, inspired by left-wing and Green movements, include the views that normal science is used immorally, and there is a moral imperative to democratize science and hear the voices of marginalized groups that can significantly contribute. Second, examining

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empirical cases of how complex problems are being addressed already, using the lens of PNS (e.g., Petersen et al this issue; Farrell this issue; Turnpenny, Lorenzoni, and Jones 2009), can lead to refinement of methods for handling complexity, in research and in policy making. Practical outcomes can in turn lead to more theoretical and philosophical reflections on the desirability or likelihood of successes of such methods. The question of which cases are most appropriate for using the PNS lens becomes crucial. Third, while PNS is a useful heuristic tool for individual cases (e.g., Farrell this issue; Wesselink & Hoppe this issue), it is also a way of opening debate about the nature of science and its role in the twenty-first-century world. Framing a discussion using PNS can often smoke out peoples normative positions, which they (we) are often loath to reveal! Fourth, PNS can act as a bridge between academic disciplines. Using PNS is a recognition (albeit not necessarily explicitly) that science is shaped by political aspects in the widest sense of the word. While this is old news to social scientists, it is an important step forward for many natural scientists. PNS can help build links between science and other literatures such as science studies, human geography, and political science. However, in haste to acknowledge the political, there is a danger of setting up a dichotomy between times when issues were tame and science was normal, and now, when issues are wicked and a post-normal approach is required, perhaps more deeply focused on social discussion and learning. Did such a change ever really happen; has science ever been normal, or is it more that the political conflicts have now moved into a different, more public, arena? Is the normal science model just thata model that some (government? scientists? the public? research funders?) subscribed to, and which is still embedded in many peoples understanding of what science does, while not being something that happens in practice? There are situations where elements of both normal and PNS in many cases interact and combine (e.g., Petersen et al. this issue; Lorenzoni, Jones, and Turnpenny 2007). This apparent or potential dichotomy requires unpacking and the causal mechanisms investigating. It is crucial now for scholars of PNS to make explicit reference to other heuristic concepts such as deliberative policy analysis (Hajer and Wagenaar 2003; Fischer 2009), which emphasize the importance of governance and institutionalizing of participation and account for social construction in politics and science. Since PNS carries so many interpretations, there may be a case for using different terminology to distinguish between them. For example, there is a clear difference between post-normal science, or something after normal sciencea normative call for turning science to different endsand

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what we might call postnormal science, in the sense of changes in the process of science, such as embracing the participatory turn. Regardless of terminology, we believe there is a bright future for research on PNS. It is more than twenty years since the term post-normal science appeared. In this time, the concept has grown and developed along very different lines. This Special Issue, and, we hope, the debate that follows, will contribute to its growth and development in the years to come. Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Note
1. Diary entry March 14, 2007: http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/?p1469. Indeed, she disliked the term so much that she used it (even more erroneously) in her subsequent two diary entries.

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Bios
John Turnpenny is a Senior Research Associate at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and CSERGE at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. With a background in Meteorology, Environmental Science and Social Policy, he has carried out interdisciplinary research on applications including participatory integrated assessment and the nature of the science-policy interface. His current research interests include the use made of policy analysis in public policymaking, the real world research needs of policymakers, and the various constraints conditioning selection of policy analysis tools. Mavis Jones is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the VALGEN project at the JohnsonShoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. In her research she examines processes of policy development and regulation of technological risk, particularly the roles of networks and institutions. Her work in both Canada and the UK has focused on risk governance across a range of biotechnologies applied to health and environmental issues. Irene Lorenzoni is Lecturer at the School of Environmental Sciences and a member of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. She is particularly interested in understandings of, and engagement with, climate change and energy, at individual and policy levels regarding both adaptation and mitigation. Some of her work has focussed on the role of perceptions, communication and behaviors; she also contributed to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, on barriers to adaptation.

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