chapter  3
22 Pages

Professional identity on the Web: Engineering blogs and public engagement

WithApril Ann Kedrowicz, Katie Rose Sullivan

An important paradigm shift has been taking place in science and engineering regarding the relationships between these expert communities and the public. A first step toward gaining the publics’ collaboration and consent will require that scientists and engineers find meaningful ways to share their knowledge. This calls for more scientists to be what Ward, Howdle, and Hamer refer to as civically engaged.1

However, engineers, potentially due to their socialization into a professional identity as disinterested hired guns or technical experts (objectification rather than subjectification) and training that upholds a deficit model of communication, might not utilize the potential of blogs to be a platform for engaging in meaningful dialogue related to social, political, or economic issues in which engineering is steeped. How scientists and engineers manage their professional identities and communicate with the public will play an important role in how accessible and appealing the public finds science and engineering. To that end, we focus this study on how engineers

present themselves and communicate with the public through their blogging practices.