Background: Futures Studies and Public Communication of Science are two newly emerged fields of activities in Iran. At the Department of Futures Studies at National research Institute for Science Policy (NRISP) we have launched a programme for promoting both fields in tandem. Through running a pilot foresight project for determining the most appropriate technologies for Iran 2025 (Iran's first foresight exercise), and by means of holding workshops, organising conferences, publishing technical papers in Iranian scholarly journals and publicly accessible articles in daily papers and weekly magazines, creating a network of all institutions involved in Futures Studies activities, and introducing new postgraduate modules into the syllabi of Iranian universities, we have initiated a trend towards applying the methods in use in Futures Studies for the purpose of disseminating scientific and technological knowledge among the Public and the decision-makers. Objectives: In the present paper, following a brief history of the earlier activities concerning public understanding of science and technology and Futures Studies in Iran, I shall concentrate on the most recent schemes/projects for communicating of science and technologies to the Iranian 'public'. I shall also produce a critical assessment of the role of various powerful institutions and individuals in the success or failure of these schemes/projects. Method: The main method used in the present research is meta-analysis of the available data/information. Results/Conclusions: The upshot of the arguments of my paper is that in present day Iran, given the strong religious sentiment which shapes an important part of the national culture and identity, and a strong pragmatist tendency among the government officials and policy makers, it is of utmost importance to promulgate a sound, rational 'scientific/theoretical' culture in line with the aspirations of the Enlightenment Project. One of the main reasons behind this conviction is that strong religious sentiments and pragmatic tendencies are both heavily inclined towards romanticism and action which are technology's bed-fellows. However, in the absence of critical rational approaches, of the kind promoted by scientific/theoretical understanding of reality, reliance on technological knowledge could produce undesirable consequences. It can be argued that in the case of present-day Iran, promotion of a rational/scientific culture can produce a much-needed balancing factor.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Futures Studies and Public Communication of Science in Iran

Ali Paya   National Research Institute for Science Policy

Background: Futures Studies and Public Communication of Science are two newly emerged fields of activities in Iran. At the Department of Futures Studies at National research Institute for Science Policy (NRISP) we have launched a programme for promoting both fields in tandem. Through running a pilot foresight project for determining the most appropriate technologies for Iran 2025 (Iran's first foresight exercise), and by means of holding workshops, organising conferences, publishing technical papers in Iranian scholarly journals and publicly accessible articles in daily papers and weekly magazines, creating a network of all institutions involved in Futures Studies activities, and introducing new postgraduate modules into the syllabi of Iranian universities, we have initiated a trend towards applying the methods in use in Futures Studies for the purpose of disseminating scientific and technological knowledge among the Public and the decision-makers. Objectives: In the present paper, following a brief history of the earlier activities concerning public understanding of science and technology and Futures Studies in Iran, I shall concentrate on the most recent schemes/projects for communicating of science and technologies to the Iranian 'public'. I shall also produce a critical assessment of the role of various powerful institutions and individuals in the success or failure of these schemes/projects. Method: The main method used in the present research is meta-analysis of the available data/information. Results/Conclusions: The upshot of the arguments of my paper is that in present day Iran, given the strong religious sentiment which shapes an important part of the national culture and identity, and a strong pragmatist tendency among the government officials and policy makers, it is of utmost importance to promulgate a sound, rational 'scientific/theoretical' culture in line with the aspirations of the Enlightenment Project. One of the main reasons behind this conviction is that strong religious sentiments and pragmatic tendencies are both heavily inclined towards romanticism and action which are technology's bed-fellows. However, in the absence of critical rational approaches, of the kind promoted by scientific/theoretical understanding of reality, reliance on technological knowledge could produce undesirable consequences. It can be argued that in the case of present-day Iran, promotion of a rational/scientific culture can produce a much-needed balancing factor.

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

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