Comprehension, Apprehension, Prehension: Heterogeneity and the Public Understanding of Science

Science, Technology, and Human Values 27 (3):357-378 (2002)
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This article examines the main approaches to public understanding of science in light of recent developments in social and cultural theory. While traditional and critical perspectives on PUS differ in terms of their models of the public, science, and understanding, they nevertheless share a number of commonalities, which are humanism, incorporeality, and discrete sites. These are contrasted, respectively, to versions of the person as hybridic, to treatments of embodiment drawing especially on Whitehead’s notion of prehension, and to a rhizomic view of science and public as interwoven. Throughout, it is stressed that the alternatives posed do not constitute an accusation of deficit on the part of traditional and critical PUS. Some research and political implications of interweaving these three perspectives are presented.



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Michael Michael
Yonsei University