In Mexico, as in many Latin American countries, poverty and marginalization in areas of rural and indigenous population has generated a systematic exclusion of several communities. This situation includes no access to health care, fresh water, electricity nor education, as well as a segregation from any contact with science.

Thus, the communities in this context have a set of particular attributes as social groups. Nevertheless, it has to be acknowledged that popularization strategies in general have ignored this contexts in alternatives that focuses on closing the gaps between science and society. In fact, the attention has been focused mainly with mass and social media in urban settings, which adds more to the exclusion of the rural sector in Mexico. In terms of social structure, infrastructure, basic services, agency capacity and choices for local actors, differences are accentuated between marginalized social groups and the public that science communication has traditionally targeted, who have been usually demarketed by their schooling, access to the media or other sociodemographic factors. However, marginalized communities in Latin America should receive a prioritary attention from science communication. This intention should be translated into strategies designed with objectives that focus on their current contexts, issues and needs. We should also support, through the use of participatory strategies, the processes of social appropriation of knowledge which will contribute to their social inclusion. These initiatives, if planned through a series of knowledge interfaces, represent a good alternative to top-bottom models or any sporadic activity within traditional practices of science communication. The foregoing has been demonstrated by the present research, a case study about three fisher communities from Alvarado, Veracruz, Mexico, that moved away from traditional fishing to aquaculture through a 15-year process of interaction with scientists and scholars from the University of Veracruz. It is to noticed, that the University is embedded in the southeast region of Mexico which represents the 84% of marginalized communities in the country and encloses 50% of the illiterate population.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Marginalized communities and their social inclusion
The emergence of a target public in Mexico for science communication

María Portilla   Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico

Susana Lima   Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, Mexico

In Mexico, as in many Latin American countries, poverty and marginalization in areas of rural and indigenous population has generated a systematic exclusion of several communities. This situation includes no access to health care, fresh water, electricity nor education, as well as a segregation from any contact with science.

Thus, the communities in this context have a set of particular attributes as social groups. Nevertheless, it has to be acknowledged that popularization strategies in general have ignored this contexts in alternatives that focuses on closing the gaps between science and society. In fact, the attention has been focused mainly with mass and social media in urban settings, which adds more to the exclusion of the rural sector in Mexico. In terms of social structure, infrastructure, basic services, agency capacity and choices for local actors, differences are accentuated between marginalized social groups and the public that science communication has traditionally targeted, who have been usually demarketed by their schooling, access to the media or other sociodemographic factors. However, marginalized communities in Latin America should receive a prioritary attention from science communication. This intention should be translated into strategies designed with objectives that focus on their current contexts, issues and needs. We should also support, through the use of participatory strategies, the processes of social appropriation of knowledge which will contribute to their social inclusion. These initiatives, if planned through a series of knowledge interfaces, represent a good alternative to top-bottom models or any sporadic activity within traditional practices of science communication. The foregoing has been demonstrated by the present research, a case study about three fisher communities from Alvarado, Veracruz, Mexico, that moved away from traditional fishing to aquaculture through a 15-year process of interaction with scientists and scholars from the University of Veracruz. It is to noticed, that the University is embedded in the southeast region of Mexico which represents the 84% of marginalized communities in the country and encloses 50% of the illiterate population.

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

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