The paper presents findings of a study of the new subject of evolutionary psychology as it appeared in the public domain of the UK in the 1990s. Quantitative and qualitative analyses, alongside research interviews, found that UK broadsheet press coverage of the subject rose throughout the 1990s and peaked in the year 2000, was associated with coverage of popular science books on the subject, and was written by unusual numbers of academics and book authors. I argue that this evidence, alongside material from research interviews, suggests that popular evolutionary psychology is an example of Bucchi’s (1996) model of a ‘deviation’ route in the communication of science, where scientists have used the public domain as a forum to make arguments and reach audiences unavailable through routine forms of academic communication.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Popular evolutionary psychology as public science and boundary work

Angela Cassidy   University of Manchester

The paper presents findings of a study of the new subject of evolutionary psychology as it appeared in the public domain of the UK in the 1990s. Quantitative and qualitative analyses, alongside research interviews, found that UK broadsheet press coverage of the subject rose throughout the 1990s and peaked in the year 2000, was associated with coverage of popular science books on the subject, and was written by unusual numbers of academics and book authors. I argue that this evidence, alongside material from research interviews, suggests that popular evolutionary psychology is an example of Bucchi’s (1996) model of a ‘deviation’ route in the communication of science, where scientists have used the public domain as a forum to make arguments and reach audiences unavailable through routine forms of academic communication.

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