This article discusses the role of language in the collaboration between science, policy, and society. Combining computational methods of corpus linguistics (manifold learning) with sociological field theories, we analyze approximately 30,000 articles that were published in the field of transdisciplinary sustainability studies. We show that the field oscillates between deliberative and technocratic vocabularies and can therefore be characterized as a transversal field. We conclude that researchers who collaborate in science–society interstices are thrown into a semantic pluralism that cannot be boiled down to a common language. For transdisciplinary research practice and corresponding science policies, this involves trade-offs between generating a homogenous language and a collaborative appeal; between creating a stable creole and a situated semantic plurality. A corresponding theoretical viewpoint and science policy approach should be based on a pluralist view on the science–society–policy interplay.
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Herberg, J., Schmitz, S., Stasiak, D., & Schmieg, G. (2021). Boundary speak in sustainability studies: Computational reading of a transversal field. Science & public policy, 48(3), 398-411. doi:10.1093/scipol/scab006.
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- Co-Creation and Contemporary Policy Advice