Science as a value-laden social and political tool

Who gets to participate in science? How does that affect what kinds of science we do: the questions we ask, the ways in which we approach the questions, the kinds of conclusions we draw from the data. How do these internal biases in science structure the world we live in?

As a Geographer, I feel that being aware of and engaged in the social context of geoscientific research is one of the greatest contributions I can make to earth science – it’s what makes physical geographers distinct from earth scientists.

To this end, I have engaged in a number of projects. My colleague Marc Tadaki and I have written a chapter on the internal politics of environmental science, published in Rebecca Lave’s new Handbook of Critical Physical Geography.


The outcomes of scientific research are constituted by the choices we make across theory, methodology, data, and the application driving the research. These choices often involve non-scientific drivers such as cost, social alliances, etc…