Media studies hitherto have been preoccupied with developing a theory and understanding of the impact of scientific and technological information on the target audience. These studies aim to understand how the information is produced and the modalities adopted for purveying of scientific & technological information and knowledge. Even in the studies on the impact of media, the shift is taking place in understanding how the audience ‘make sense of’ the scientific and technological information communicated through the mass media. Informed by the social learning theories a turn has come about in recent scholarship of science communication studies which views audience as an active participant in the production of scientific meaning.

No era has been more visual than the twentieth century and science is not an exception. However, in the recent scholarship a fair share of attention has shifted towards the media production of scientific and technological information. As Kemp has argued the great difference between the visual qualities of twentieth century science and what went before it, is the new predominance of the representation of things that are technically invisible. Further scholars such as Keller have shown that in modern science depend upon the visuals to ‘make visible the invisible’ and reify the modern scientific concepts and theoretical constructs.

Of the entire spectrum of visual medium such as television, videos, posters, multimedia and so on television still has a vast reach unsurpassed by any other media. Therefore it is only natural that the television images of science and scientists are important as a subject of study. Televised images provide an opportunity for the viewer to observe the actions, attitudes and thoughts of others, which in turn can influence the viewers’ action, values, thoughts and behavior.

In particular, the self-efficacy towards scientific activities may be greatly influenced. Investigations of television programmes have brought certain typical images of science and scientists in media productions. The very programmeformat, narrative style and emphasis given in the programme cue a certain view about science. In the light of the insights garnered, this paper will detail the efforts of Vigyan Prasar in communicating science through visual media and in particular critically examine the content, format and narrative structure of a television serial titled ‘Asia Hi Hota hai’ telecast by Vigyan Prasar and DECU.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communicating science and communicating about science – an content analysis of select science video programmes

T V Venkateswaran   Scientist D, Vigyanprasar, INDIA

Media studies hitherto have been preoccupied with developing a theory and understanding of the impact of scientific and technological information on the target audience. These studies aim to understand how the information is produced and the modalities adopted for purveying of scientific & technological information and knowledge. Even in the studies on the impact of media, the shift is taking place in understanding how the audience ‘make sense of’ the scientific and technological information communicated through the mass media. Informed by the social learning theories a turn has come about in recent scholarship of science communication studies which views audience as an active participant in the production of scientific meaning.

No era has been more visual than the twentieth century and science is not an exception. However, in the recent scholarship a fair share of attention has shifted towards the media production of scientific and technological information. As Kemp has argued the great difference between the visual qualities of twentieth century science and what went before it, is the new predominance of the representation of things that are technically invisible. Further scholars such as Keller have shown that in modern science depend upon the visuals to ‘make visible the invisible’ and reify the modern scientific concepts and theoretical constructs.

Of the entire spectrum of visual medium such as television, videos, posters, multimedia and so on television still has a vast reach unsurpassed by any other media. Therefore it is only natural that the television images of science and scientists are important as a subject of study. Televised images provide an opportunity for the viewer to observe the actions, attitudes and thoughts of others, which in turn can influence the viewers’ action, values, thoughts and behavior.

In particular, the self-efficacy towards scientific activities may be greatly influenced. Investigations of television programmes have brought certain typical images of science and scientists in media productions. The very programmeformat, narrative style and emphasis given in the programme cue a certain view about science. In the light of the insights garnered, this paper will detail the efforts of Vigyan Prasar in communicating science through visual media and in particular critically examine the content, format and narrative structure of a television serial titled ‘Asia Hi Hota hai’ telecast by Vigyan Prasar and DECU.

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