Mediating Science and Society in the EU and UK: From Information-Transmission to Deliberative Democracy?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Minerva 48 (4):429-461 (2010)
In this paper we critically review recent developments in policies, practices and philosophies pertaining to the mediation between science and the public within the EU and the UK, focusing in particular on the current paradigm of Public Understanding of Science and Technology (PEST) which seeks to depart from the science information-transmission associated with previous paradigms, and enact a deliberative democracy model. We first outline the features of the current crisis in democracy and discuss deliberative democracy as a response to this crisis. We then map out and critically review the broad outlines of recent policy developments in public-science mediation in the EU and UK contexts, focusing on the shift towards the deliberative-democratic model. We conclude with some critical thoughts on the complex interrelationships between democracy, equality, science and informal pedagogies in public-science mediations. We argue that science and democracy operate within distinct value-spheres that are not necessarily consonant with each other. We also problematize the now common dismissal of information-transmission of science as inimical to democratic engagement, and argue for a reassessment of the role and importance of informal science learning for the lay public, provided within the framework of a deliberative democracy that is not reducible to consensus building or the mere expression of opinions rooted in social and cultural givens. This, we argue, can be delivered by a model of PEST that is creative and experimental, with both educational and democratic functions.
|Keywords||Deliberative democracy Public engagement with science and technology (PEST) Public understanding of science (PUS) Science communication Governance of science Pedagogy Information-transmission|
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Helen E. Longino (1990). Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry. Princeton University Press.
Jürgen Habermas (1996). Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy. Polity.
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Citations of this work BETA
Thaddeus R. Miller & Mark W. Neff (2013). De-Facto Science Policy in the Making: How Scientists Shape Science Policy and Why It Matters (or, Why STS and STP Scholars Should Socialize). Minerva 51 (3):295-315.
David Tyfield (2012). A Cultural Political Economy of Research and Innovation in an Age of Crisis. Minerva 50 (2):149-167.
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