Abstract

This paper explores some of the difficulties in accounting for the value of knowledge intermediation, focusing on two types of knowledge inter-mediators: science shops and knowledge brokers. We analyse the way in which actors themselves ‘situate’, and thus value, their work and practices. Drawing upon theorisations by Antoine Hennion and Bruno Latour, who have distinguished between intermediaries and mediation, we show that actors mobilise two non-mutually exclusive, coexisting repertoires: a ‘two-world’ repertoire and a repertoire of ‘exploration’. In the two-world repertoire, knowledge inter-mediators are seen as actors placed between two (pre-existing) worlds: as a result, their task becomes connecting these two worlds. The repertoire of exploration refers to the fact that inter-mediators evolve in uncertain worlds, their role consisting of exploring and performing new worlds including their own place and role within these. We argue that the tensions between these two repertoires are a potential resource for theory and practice.

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