Science communication has been enriched by reflections generated within social studies on science and technology. However, many of these contributions have not been articulated with practice. Moreover, there was limited success in integrating them in theoretical proposals that allow for a reflection from our own perspective, in the context of a changing global scenarion where diverse ways of seeing the world coexist and there is a need of constant dialogue between different cultures and social sectors, between diverse and plural forms of knowledge. This situation has resulted in a situation in which the ways of doing science communication have been restricted to a theory of deficit, which does not allow us to recognize and consider how the individuals both possess and create knowledge in many social sectors and culturally different people. It is necessary to analyze this situation, since to merely abandon deficit theory does not imply a true reflection. Nowadays, we mostly see the construction of a new perspective based on techniques of marketing and political communication that answers to a desire of convincing and seducing the subjects, more than to the need of educating them, let  alone stimulate their free association. Moreover, the requirements of international competition favor decision making by experts in charge of developing a kind of investigation destined to the global market of innovation. As a consequence, often the ‘participation’ is reduced to a tool of scientific marketing or is used as a way of exploiting local knowledge with no benefit for the commmunities that own that knowledge. This process leaves both communities and individuals defenseless against the impact of certain scientific developments that are strongly questioned within science itself, such as genetic determinism, or certain technological developments. In sum, when conceived in this manner, ‘participation’ can paradoxically lead communities and subjects to be submitted to technoscience in all its range, supressing their citizenship in all its respects. The goal of this round table is, thus, to reflect upon these problems and propose new concepts and theoretical tools to promote plural and inclusive approaches and ways of communication, which allow the access and free appropriation of scientific knowledge by the aforementioned social actors and the needed participation as citizens in the policies that promote technoscience. Also, this participation should promote the maintenance of their rights to keep their own culture without being marginalized. Concepts such as ontology, reflexivity, plurality, complexity, interculturality, cosmopolitics, flow between different circles and styles of thinking, enactment, and actor network are tools that can be currently valuable as guides to our work in science communication. Thus, Fleck’s notion of thought styles, for instance, disrupts the centrality of a particular cognitive pattern or way of doing science. This change of  perspective contributes to the revision of the dynamics between scientific fields, which Fleck calls “esoteric circles”, but also for understanding their relationship with external groups  (“exoteric circles”).  According to Fleck, popular science supplies the largest part of individual people’s knowledge. Even professional scientists take many concepts, comparisons and general views from it. These are certainly fundamental subjects for science communication. Similarly, indigenous peoples’ knowledge can play a key role in science communication. In this case, the prevalence of the idea of cultural heritage management has been imposed instead of an open exercise of mutual understanding and enrichment; this situation forces us to look for new ways of intercultural relation. This reflective exercise is, in our view, fundamental to establish our work in a reliable manner in a world that is increasingly characterized by plurality in all levels. It is widely recognized that, in this situation, to fully accomplish our work in science communication we need to embrace new concepts.

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

New concepts for inclusive science communication in a plural world

César Carrillo-Trueba   Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

Joëlle Le Marec   University of Paris VI, France

Bernardo Jefferson de Oliveira   Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Yurij Castelfranchi   Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Charbel Niño El-Hani   Federal University of Bahia, Brazil

Science communication has been enriched by reflections generated within social studies on science and technology. However, many of these contributions have not been articulated with practice. Moreover, there was limited success in integrating them in theoretical proposals that allow for a reflection from our own perspective, in the context of a changing global scenarion where diverse ways of seeing the world coexist and there is a need of constant dialogue between different cultures and social sectors, between diverse and plural forms of knowledge. This situation has resulted in a situation in which the ways of doing science communication have been restricted to a theory of deficit, which does not allow us to recognize and consider how the individuals both possess and create knowledge in many social sectors and culturally different people. It is necessary to analyze this situation, since to merely abandon deficit theory does not imply a true reflection. Nowadays, we mostly see the construction of a new perspective based on techniques of marketing and political communication that answers to a desire of convincing and seducing the subjects, more than to the need of educating them, let  alone stimulate their free association. Moreover, the requirements of international competition favor decision making by experts in charge of developing a kind of investigation destined to the global market of innovation. As a consequence, often the ‘participation’ is reduced to a tool of scientific marketing or is used as a way of exploiting local knowledge with no benefit for the commmunities that own that knowledge. This process leaves both communities and individuals defenseless against the impact of certain scientific developments that are strongly questioned within science itself, such as genetic determinism, or certain technological developments. In sum, when conceived in this manner, ‘participation’ can paradoxically lead communities and subjects to be submitted to technoscience in all its range, supressing their citizenship in all its respects. The goal of this round table is, thus, to reflect upon these problems and propose new concepts and theoretical tools to promote plural and inclusive approaches and ways of communication, which allow the access and free appropriation of scientific knowledge by the aforementioned social actors and the needed participation as citizens in the policies that promote technoscience. Also, this participation should promote the maintenance of their rights to keep their own culture without being marginalized. Concepts such as ontology, reflexivity, plurality, complexity, interculturality, cosmopolitics, flow between different circles and styles of thinking, enactment, and actor network are tools that can be currently valuable as guides to our work in science communication. Thus, Fleck’s notion of thought styles, for instance, disrupts the centrality of a particular cognitive pattern or way of doing science. This change of  perspective contributes to the revision of the dynamics between scientific fields, which Fleck calls “esoteric circles”, but also for understanding their relationship with external groups  (“exoteric circles”).  According to Fleck, popular science supplies the largest part of individual people’s knowledge. Even professional scientists take many concepts, comparisons and general views from it. These are certainly fundamental subjects for science communication. Similarly, indigenous peoples’ knowledge can play a key role in science communication. In this case, the prevalence of the idea of cultural heritage management has been imposed instead of an open exercise of mutual understanding and enrichment; this situation forces us to look for new ways of intercultural relation. This reflective exercise is, in our view, fundamental to establish our work in a reliable manner in a world that is increasingly characterized by plurality in all levels. It is widely recognized that, in this situation, to fully accomplish our work in science communication we need to embrace new concepts.

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