One of the fundamental technologies for bringing disputes to the attention of the public is the legal trial. In adversarial systems, the examination and cross‐examination of experts and other witnesses in front of an audience (judge, jury, public) is meant to elucidate the issues at hand and "allow the truth to emerge in a contested public context." Some of the most common techniques of public deliberation on technoscientific matters are modeled on the mechanics of courtroom exchange (e.g. citizens juries), yet very few of these forms of dialogue have a legal continuation, or are seen as part of a broader legal process. In fact, public deliberation is often proposed as a way of avoiding "legalism," or "American‐style litigiousness" on controversial science and technology. This presentation will probe this implicit separation of deliberation and law, and will contrast some of the linguistic practices of courtroom exchange with the forms of sociality preferred in public deliberation exercises.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Public deliberation, law and adversarialism

Javier Lezaun   University of Oxford

One of the fundamental technologies for bringing disputes to the attention of the public is the legal trial. In adversarial systems, the examination and cross‐examination of experts and other witnesses in front of an audience (judge, jury, public) is meant to elucidate the issues at hand and "allow the truth to emerge in a contested public context." Some of the most common techniques of public deliberation on technoscientific matters are modeled on the mechanics of courtroom exchange (e.g. citizens juries), yet very few of these forms of dialogue have a legal continuation, or are seen as part of a broader legal process. In fact, public deliberation is often proposed as a way of avoiding "legalism," or "American‐style litigiousness" on controversial science and technology. This presentation will probe this implicit separation of deliberation and law, and will contrast some of the linguistic practices of courtroom exchange with the forms of sociality preferred in public deliberation exercises.

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