Public discourses on controversial technologies, like agro-biotechnology, produce a variety of communicative actions. They are rich in texts, pictures and performative acts struggling for credibility and authority. The main currency of such struggles is often scientific evidence. This is also the case in the agro-biotechnology discourse in Poland that has been intensified since 2009, when the new proposal of the law on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has got under deliberation. By referring to and commenting on scientific evidence about environmental and health hazards of GMOs the actors involved in the discourse not only (re-)interpret results of scientific studies but they simultaneously transport various views of science. For example both proponents and opponents of GMOs call for sound science as a base for political decision making. This corresponds in some cases to a positivist view of science as speaking truth to power. In contrast voices addressing the need for a democratization of science reveal a view of science in a way that conceives science as an enterprise that is not free from social and political influence.

In my presentation I show firstly what are the different views of science the participants of the agro-biotechnology discourse in Poland transport in their attempts to communicate on scientific evidence and its quality. Since the communicative actions of the discourse actors are performed mostly in multimodal settings I analyse both textual and pictorial messages. Secondly, I try to develop some criteria on how the quality of science communication in the agro-biotechnology discourse could be evaluated by considering the underlying views of science.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communicating science = constructing science
Views of science as reference to discuss the quality of science communication in the agro- biotechnology discourse

Jedrzej Sulmowski   Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Public discourses on controversial technologies, like agro-biotechnology, produce a variety of communicative actions. They are rich in texts, pictures and performative acts struggling for credibility and authority. The main currency of such struggles is often scientific evidence. This is also the case in the agro-biotechnology discourse in Poland that has been intensified since 2009, when the new proposal of the law on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has got under deliberation. By referring to and commenting on scientific evidence about environmental and health hazards of GMOs the actors involved in the discourse not only (re-)interpret results of scientific studies but they simultaneously transport various views of science. For example both proponents and opponents of GMOs call for sound science as a base for political decision making. This corresponds in some cases to a positivist view of science as speaking truth to power. In contrast voices addressing the need for a democratization of science reveal a view of science in a way that conceives science as an enterprise that is not free from social and political influence.

In my presentation I show firstly what are the different views of science the participants of the agro-biotechnology discourse in Poland transport in their attempts to communicate on scientific evidence and its quality. Since the communicative actions of the discourse actors are performed mostly in multimodal settings I analyse both textual and pictorial messages. Secondly, I try to develop some criteria on how the quality of science communication in the agro-biotechnology discourse could be evaluated by considering the underlying views of science.

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