During the last decades, the science-society interface in Europe has presented the symptoms of an important transformation. Callon (2000) examines the situation and proposes the existence of three distinct models: public instruction, public debate and co-production of knowledge. This third model and the epistemological implications of producing knowledge through partnerships established between citizens and scientists are discussed here. The most widely accepted —yet not the only— example is the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM), a group of patients and their relatives who adopt an autonomous approach to scientific knowledge when trying to meet their own demands. Side by side with experts, they engage in all of the stages of science production. Genethon is the first nonprofit pharmaceutical laboratory in the world internationally recognized and has won awards. Its management model has inspired a broad range of institutions, including several in the private sector. In 1935, Ludwik Fleck, a Polish physician and epistemologist, wrote about the genesis and development of a scientific fact. For him, science is closely linked to the social and historical assumptions of the subjects who participate in it while trying to solve their problems. The author postulates the existence of groups congregating those who share the same scientific notions. The exchange of ideas inside a group and between different groups plays a fundamental role in the process of their interaction with the objects of knowledge that are active in the formulation of scientific problems. Given this framework, science created by hybrid groups is compared here with science produced exclusively by experts. Moreover, the influence of the diversification of science’s modes of production on the construction of democratic society, in search for innovative levels of dialogue with citizens, is approached. In this new context, communication between science and society is deeply transformed, in its modes of operation as well as in its function. Any proposal favoring the mere transmission of accomplished knowledge or consolidated processes is abandoned. Instead, investments are made on the generation of a new, actively engaged public, capable of both thinking and making science. CALLON M. (2000) «Des différentes formes de démocratie technique» Les Cahiers de la sécurité intérieure n° 38, France. FLECK L. (1986) «La Génesis y el Desarrollo de un Hecho Científico.» Alianza Editorial Madrid

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Participative science and its epistemological implications
A contribution for public understanding of science

Rafaela Lamy-Peronnet   Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil

Demetrio Delizoicov   Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil

During the last decades, the science-society interface in Europe has presented the symptoms of an important transformation. Callon (2000) examines the situation and proposes the existence of three distinct models: public instruction, public debate and co-production of knowledge. This third model and the epistemological implications of producing knowledge through partnerships established between citizens and scientists are discussed here. The most widely accepted —yet not the only— example is the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM), a group of patients and their relatives who adopt an autonomous approach to scientific knowledge when trying to meet their own demands. Side by side with experts, they engage in all of the stages of science production. Genethon is the first nonprofit pharmaceutical laboratory in the world internationally recognized and has won awards. Its management model has inspired a broad range of institutions, including several in the private sector. In 1935, Ludwik Fleck, a Polish physician and epistemologist, wrote about the genesis and development of a scientific fact. For him, science is closely linked to the social and historical assumptions of the subjects who participate in it while trying to solve their problems. The author postulates the existence of groups congregating those who share the same scientific notions. The exchange of ideas inside a group and between different groups plays a fundamental role in the process of their interaction with the objects of knowledge that are active in the formulation of scientific problems. Given this framework, science created by hybrid groups is compared here with science produced exclusively by experts. Moreover, the influence of the diversification of science’s modes of production on the construction of democratic society, in search for innovative levels of dialogue with citizens, is approached. In this new context, communication between science and society is deeply transformed, in its modes of operation as well as in its function. Any proposal favoring the mere transmission of accomplished knowledge or consolidated processes is abandoned. Instead, investments are made on the generation of a new, actively engaged public, capable of both thinking and making science. CALLON M. (2000) «Des différentes formes de démocratie technique» Les Cahiers de la sécurité intérieure n° 38, France. FLECK L. (1986) «La Génesis y el Desarrollo de un Hecho Científico.» Alianza Editorial Madrid

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