PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Leap-frogging into the future - Transforming a 'Triple-late Development State' into the 'Knowledge Society'.

Charlotte Wien  

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has undergone marked changes since the state was formed 43 years ago. The issue of transforming UAE into a knowledge society has risen to the top of the political agenda during the last decade (e.g. Vision 2021 and The National Agenda). As such, one could say, that the country is attempting to leap-frog directly from a pearling/fishing/trading economy into a Knowledge Society. We ask firstly: To what extend do local UAE media facilitate the transition into a knowledge society by communicating scientific and scholarly achievements to the public? In order to answer this question we will use quantitative content analysis of local media content to collect data about science communication in news media in UAE. We compare our findings to previous research carried out in the West. Secondly, we analyze which factors respectively advance or hamper the development of a knowledge society in 'triple-late development state' like UAE. Triple-late development states are characterized by a very late entry into development. Such states expose a qualitatively different developmental pattern than observed in large parts of the world, where an agricultural society was succeeded by industrialization, then by the 'Information Society', and finally by the 'Knowledge Society'. This paper will hypothesize that there are at least three obstacles for this strategy to become successful: firstly the average citizen is not as well-educated as in the West due to the short timespan of the development process and may be less interested/receptive/critical to science communication. Secondly, that the local core of scientists are mainly ex-pats working on short-term contracts with less incentives to communicate to the public as in the West. Finally, the media system in UAE is different that in the Western world. As such, UAE is a critical case to analyze in science communication.

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