Increased public involvement with science and technology (S&T) introduced a science and society framework for assessing and categorising the role of S&T within a science communication culture. As theoretical framework, science communication is guided by the content of an ‘ecology of knowledge’ which calls for reflection on ‘who uses knowledge and for what purpose’. In this regard probing questions are surfacing regarding knowledge already known and the kind of knowledge that society needs. Such discourses in epistemology denote the ‘sociology of knowledge’ in historical terms while, at the same time, try to establish the appropriate application of ‘new knowledge’. In countries such as India and South Africa decisions that influence the current science and society paradigm differs not only from the European model, but introduced different notions to guide the policy based interaction between science and society. This paper will analyse the difference in this paradigmatic approach between the two countries. After Independence in 1947 India showed political astuteness in embracing traditional knowledge through a scientific temper approach. In South Africa the post 1994 government battles to decrease the gap between policies relying on science-based risk analysis, and societal views that are dependent on equity, ethics and indigenous knowledge.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Sciene, society and policy nexus
The South Africa and India agenda

Gauhar Raza   National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Hester Plessis   Human Sciences Research Council

Increased public involvement with science and technology (S&T) introduced a science and society framework for assessing and categorising the role of S&T within a science communication culture. As theoretical framework, science communication is guided by the content of an ‘ecology of knowledge’ which calls for reflection on ‘who uses knowledge and for what purpose’. In this regard probing questions are surfacing regarding knowledge already known and the kind of knowledge that society needs. Such discourses in epistemology denote the ‘sociology of knowledge’ in historical terms while, at the same time, try to establish the appropriate application of ‘new knowledge’. In countries such as India and South Africa decisions that influence the current science and society paradigm differs not only from the European model, but introduced different notions to guide the policy based interaction between science and society. This paper will analyse the difference in this paradigmatic approach between the two countries. After Independence in 1947 India showed political astuteness in embracing traditional knowledge through a scientific temper approach. In South Africa the post 1994 government battles to decrease the gap between policies relying on science-based risk analysis, and societal views that are dependent on equity, ethics and indigenous knowledge.

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