PCST 2014’s main theme is “Science communication for social inclusion and political engagement”. Social inclusion is one of the great challenges in Latin America that, for historical reasons, has accumulated an enormous set of social inequalities in distribution of wealth, land, health conditions, cultural and educational goods and appropriation of scientific and technological knowledge. Social inclusion can be understood as the action to provide opportunities and conditions for people that are social and economically excluded to be incorporated to the parcel of society that can usufruct of these goods. It involves also the establishment of determined conditions so that all the inhabitants of the region can live with a fair quality of life and as full citizens endowed with knowledge, opportunities and mechanisms for an effective political participation. One of the aspects of social inclusion is to make possible that each citizen has the opportunity to acquire a basic knowledge on science and its functioning that gives him conditions to understand the social, economical and cultural context and to increase his employment chances in the working market. He must to acquire a basic notion, related to S&T, of their main results, methods and applications, but also of their risks, limitations and economical and social constraints. To speak of social inclusion in the domain of the diffusion of scientific knowledge and of its applications means to reach the poor populations (millions and millions of Latin Americans are in this situation) and to incorporate all segments of the people that are excluded from a basic knowledge on S&T. Among the main reasons for the current situation in Latin America are the lack of a good science education in primary and secondary schools and the
general weakness of the science communication activities. Considering the characteristics of the modern world, the activities of public communication of science acquired increasing importance. It is processed through various tools such as the media, science centers and science museums, outreach activities, science  communication events, distance learning and others. In recent years in several countries of Latin America, public policies have led to a reduction of social and economic inequalities, albeit on a reduced scale, and this has enabled the social rise of significant portions of their populations. As social inclusion is one of the policy priorities of several local governments in Latin America, the public communication of S&T becomes one important line of action for the governments and public institutions. In this panel, experiences and case studies, in Latin America, will be presented concerning science communication activities directed towards social inclusion among communities or groups of poor or marginalized people. For instance, in Latin America, there are millions of people belonging to indigenous communities which have their own cultures and languages. Brazil and Mexico are among the most linguistically diverse countries. In general, indigenous peoples do not enjoy good social and economic conditions and their communities are characterized by high levels of poverty. One challenge here is the production of bilingual texts with information on science in Spanish or Portuguese and in native languages. Several experiences and different case studies will be discussed in the panel: bringing nanoscience to the indigenous communities of México; developing science communication activities for homeless people or with the local community “village Planetarium”, a slum in Porto Alegre; construction of an astronomical observatory and activities on the indigenous astronomy knowledge with the local communities in the Alto Rio Negro (Amazon); activities of popularization of science for slave descendants‘ communities (‘quilombolas’) in Brazil. One of the main concerns in these activities is to go beyond the traditional one-way communication of science model and consider the audience as having knowledge and practices for themselves and involving them in the organization of these practices. While the traditional approach attempt to solve the problem of the transmission of scientific and technical knowledge of those who have it to those who do not, the concept of a‘social appropriation of science’leads us to rethink the problem of redistribution of knowledge, redefining the role of the actors 72 involved, recognizing the existence of meaningful local knowledge and trying to narrow the gap between the science and technology system and the general people. One goal of the panel is to exchange experiences on specific science communication practices for poor people and local communities, analyzing the difficulties, successes and failures and also the main challenges for the future of science communication in the region.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science communication activities for social inclusion in Latin America

Ildeu de Castro Moreira   Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Noboru Takeuchi   Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Centro de Nanociencias y Nanotecnología, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

Maria Helena Steffani   Planetário da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Porto Alegre, Brazil

Douglas Falcão Silva   Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Germano Bruno Afonso   Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Amazonas, Brazil

PCST 2014’s main theme is “Science communication for social inclusion and political engagement”. Social inclusion is one of the great challenges in Latin America that, for historical reasons, has accumulated an enormous set of social inequalities in distribution of wealth, land, health conditions, cultural and educational goods and appropriation of scientific and technological knowledge. Social inclusion can be understood as the action to provide opportunities and conditions for people that are social and economically excluded to be incorporated to the parcel of society that can usufruct of these goods. It involves also the establishment of determined conditions so that all the inhabitants of the region can live with a fair quality of life and as full citizens endowed with knowledge, opportunities and mechanisms for an effective political participation. One of the aspects of social inclusion is to make possible that each citizen has the opportunity to acquire a basic knowledge on science and its functioning that gives him conditions to understand the social, economical and cultural context and to increase his employment chances in the working market. He must to acquire a basic notion, related to S&T, of their main results, methods and applications, but also of their risks, limitations and economical and social constraints. To speak of social inclusion in the domain of the diffusion of scientific knowledge and of its applications means to reach the poor populations (millions and millions of Latin Americans are in this situation) and to incorporate all segments of the people that are excluded from a basic knowledge on S&T. Among the main reasons for the current situation in Latin America are the lack of a good science education in primary and secondary schools and the
general weakness of the science communication activities. Considering the characteristics of the modern world, the activities of public communication of science acquired increasing importance. It is processed through various tools such as the media, science centers and science museums, outreach activities, science  communication events, distance learning and others. In recent years in several countries of Latin America, public policies have led to a reduction of social and economic inequalities, albeit on a reduced scale, and this has enabled the social rise of significant portions of their populations. As social inclusion is one of the policy priorities of several local governments in Latin America, the public communication of S&T becomes one important line of action for the governments and public institutions. In this panel, experiences and case studies, in Latin America, will be presented concerning science communication activities directed towards social inclusion among communities or groups of poor or marginalized people. For instance, in Latin America, there are millions of people belonging to indigenous communities which have their own cultures and languages. Brazil and Mexico are among the most linguistically diverse countries. In general, indigenous peoples do not enjoy good social and economic conditions and their communities are characterized by high levels of poverty. One challenge here is the production of bilingual texts with information on science in Spanish or Portuguese and in native languages. Several experiences and different case studies will be discussed in the panel: bringing nanoscience to the indigenous communities of México; developing science communication activities for homeless people or with the local community “village Planetarium”, a slum in Porto Alegre; construction of an astronomical observatory and activities on the indigenous astronomy knowledge with the local communities in the Alto Rio Negro (Amazon); activities of popularization of science for slave descendants‘ communities (‘quilombolas’) in Brazil. One of the main concerns in these activities is to go beyond the traditional one-way communication of science model and consider the audience as having knowledge and practices for themselves and involving them in the organization of these practices. While the traditional approach attempt to solve the problem of the transmission of scientific and technical knowledge of those who have it to those who do not, the concept of a‘social appropriation of science’leads us to rethink the problem of redistribution of knowledge, redefining the role of the actors 72 involved, recognizing the existence of meaningful local knowledge and trying to narrow the gap between the science and technology system and the general people. One goal of the panel is to exchange experiences on specific science communication practices for poor people and local communities, analyzing the difficulties, successes and failures and also the main challenges for the future of science communication in the region.

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