WiSe 18/19: The changing 'ecosystem' of public communication of science
Hans Peter Peters
Originally, public communication of science and technology was conceptualized as education of the public. Information about science was accessible mainly through journalistic mass media and books. ... read more
Originally, public communication of science and technology was conceptualized as education of the public. Information about science was accessible mainly through journalistic mass media and books. Science journalists were viewed as "translators" of science. Academic debates focused on accuracy and comprehensibility of popularized science, on motivation and communication skills of scientists and on the scientific competence of journalists.
This view on science communication has changed. Rising science budgets, public controversies and acceptance problems regarding technical innovations, and dependency of policy-making on scientific expertise increased scrutiny of science and techno-science by civil society and media. Science responded to the legitimacy crisis with institutionalization, professionalization, and strategic utilization of public communication, leading to what Peter Weingart has termed a "medialization of science". New infrastructures for public communication of science, and new approaches focusing on dialogue with the public and its participation in knowledge creation (e.g., citizen science) and science governance (e.g., consensus conferences) evolved. The Internet offers a multitude of new channels and arenas for science communication, ending the quasi-monopoly of journalism as gatekeeper of the public sphere and giving individual scientists as well as science organizations direct access to broader lay audiences.
The seminar will deal with the transformation of public communication of science and technology, its problems, and its implications for today's science communication.
To meet the requirement of "active participation", seminar participants are expected to prepare and give a presentation based on a review of literature. Topics are assigned in the first session.