PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Towards a more dialogical approach to the public understanding of biotechnology

John Durant  

Renato Schibeci  

Ian Barns  

The purpose of this workshop will be to discuss some recent examples of more interactive and dialogical approaches to the surveyings of public attitudes to developments in biotechnology. The workshop will be in two parts. First, Professor John Durant will discuss the use of 'consensus conferences' in Europe and the UK as a way of actively involving members of the general public in debates about controversial developments in science. He will focus in particular on the first UK National Consensus Conference on Plant Biotechnology which was organised by the Science Museum and held in London in November 1994.

In the second part of the workshop, Renato Schibeci and Ian Barns will discuss the use of computer based data bases in the context of dialogical focus groups as a way of exploring the attitudes of interested publics in Australia to recent developments in gene technology, including the Flavr SAvr tomato and gene therapies for genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.