PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Science, art and culture
Not only social appropriation

Martín Bonfil Olivera  

The present work will analyse and discuss some of the aims and priorities of different widespread approaches to public communication of science (PCST). It is important to analyse this topics given that these different approaches give rise to diverse science communication agendas at the institutional and even national levels. Arguments will be presented in favour of supporting a wide variety of approaches to PCST, rather than favouring just one dominant, or even unique, approach to it, a situation in which other distinct approaches to science communication tend to be shunned or underappreciated. In particular, the approach known in various Latin-American countries as "social appropriation of science and technology", which has become very popular in this region, will be discussed. The "social appropriation" view favours mainly PCST projects and strategies that offer practical applications of science and technology that directly benefit or are useful for citizens and for societies. It will be argued that, together with the "social appropriation" approach, it is imperative to also promote and support other views of science communication that not necessarily have pragmatic value, but that offer additional, more abstract benefits: namely, approaches of the cultural, literary and artistic type. It is our impression that not to do so would only impoverish the universe of possibilities that PCST has to offer to our citizens. It is important to present these arguments to our colleagues from Latin-America and the rest of the world, in order to promote dialogue an debate about the many different approaches to PCST and the relative importance and usefulness of each one. This will hopefully encourage a global discussion that may help acknowledge the value of having and supporting a wide diversity of PCST views that offer a variety of different aims and benefits for our societies that go well beyond practical utility.

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